Summer Reflections 2010 – Post #1

John Hughes just graduated from SIPA and during his second year of study worked in our office.  He is spending the next two months in the office to assist with projects and help fill in for a staff member on maternity leave.  John is set up for a job in Washington, D.C. and will be moving there in August.  I asked him to reflect a bit on his experience as a SIPA student and contribute to the blog over the summer.  So, this is his first contribution and look for more in the coming weeks.

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Now that my time at SIPA has ended (except for two more months in the admissions office before moving to Washington), I have time to reflect on my two years.  I will say, undoubtedly, that it was an amazing experience.  This does not mean that every minute of every day was great, or that I never had any problems.  However, the good days vastly outnumbered the bad, and the problems were always minor and easily taken care of.

Over the course of this summer I plan to write a few blog posts that will hopefully help give incoming (and future) students some good advice and insight into what it’s like to be a student at SIPA.   Before doing so, however, I thought I’d begin this week with some advice for the summer.

The best advice I can give those of you who are coming this Fall right now is to enjoy your summer.  Once school starts you’ll be quite busy between classes/socializing/networking etc., and you (probably) will not have as much free time as you do now.  Other than taking care of the important things like securing your funding and finding an apartment, don’t worry about school.  Course selection and all the rest will happen when you arrive, and there will be plenty of time to figure it out then.  Of course, if you feel that your quant skills are rusty it’s worth going over the math refresher materials that SIPA will send out this summer or studying a bit on your own, but don’t go overboard.  Once September hits you’ll have plenty of work to do.

This is not to say that you won’t have any free time at SIPA.  On the contrary, other than during midterms and finals, when you’ll be pretty slammed, there is always time to fit in some non-academic pursuits.  In fact, I would encourage you to do so since the network that you build during your time at SIPA will be just as important down the road as the education you receive.  Keep this in mind as you juggle competing possibilities over the course of the semester. For now though, like I said before, relax.  Your future self will thank you for it.