Student bloggers: Emma looks back on her first Fletcher year

Student bloggers: Emma looks back on her first Fletcher year

Emma and friends before Diplomats BallHappy summer, everyone! I initially was looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation, only to get exactly 12 hours off between turning in my last final and beginning my full-time job. This summer will probably not be that relaxing but will be extremely eventful. I have many activities and events planned, including working as a temporary research associate with an energy consulting company, taking the summer GIS course, and serving as maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding in August.

I am dubbing this the “skill-set summer,” as I am trying to build some quantitative and computer skills to get on my resume before the impending job hunt. Already, I programmed my first Qualtrics survey and made my first GIS map. Amid the chaos, I took some time to reflect upon my first year at Fletcher.

First, I am thankful for being surrounded by such passionate and intelligent colleagues and professors. So far, my graduate school experience has been so different than my undergraduate one. People at Fletcher are so motivated and ambitious, and I feel the energy from working and learning with and from them. My colleagues constantly inspire me, and watching the class of 2022 graduate made me even more enthusiastic about getting my degree and pursuing my passions.

My favorite course this year was Climate Change and Security, taught by Professor Monica Toft. I am not a security studies person, and this course brought together students interested in a mix of traditional security studies, human security, climate change, and environmental policy. The course was a great example of the overlap between fields of study at Fletcher and touched on many relevant climate change-related challenges that the world faces.

Emma at NEWIEE with attendeesSecond, I began to realize the power of the Fletcher network and the importance of taking advantage of events and conferences. I found the company I am working with over the summer at the Tufts Energy Conference, so you never know when or where you will meet a meaningful connection! This spring, I was also lucky enough to attend the New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) awards gala, which honored women leaders in the energy and sustainability spaces, including Dean Rachel Kyte. The event was a great chance to meet people in the field I am looking to join after graduation and gain insight from professionals and academics with years of experience.

Finally, I wish I could say that I learned how to avoid getting overwhelmed by pressure and work; however, I often take on too many commitments, making me feel overly stressed and spread out too thin. This year’s most important lesson is recognizing when you are struggling. We, as graduate students, put ourselves through so much each day and often have unattainable self-expectations and internal and external pressure to succeed. On top of school, we also deal with family, personal, and life challenges. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed, and it is good to realize when you need to slow down or ask for help. My goal for the next year is to cut back on my commitments and take more time for myself and my friends.

So, in addition to class and work this summer, I hope to travel, read, and relax. During the last week of summer, I booked a much-anticipated trip to Paris and London. I studied abroad in Paris and have been eager to go back. I cannot wait until my friends are reunited; and we meet the incoming class at the start of the fall semester. Stay cool and have a great summer!