A Day in the Life of An Over-Committed 2nd Year SIPA Student

8.00AM—Alarm goes off. I could go for the run I planned to take, but instead I hit the snooze button. Up too late last night working on a problem set.

9.00AM—Alarm goes off again. This time I’m up, eating yogurt (breakfast is the most important meal of the day) making a caffeinated beverage, searching around for a business casual outfit (there are some professional events today, so better look the part) and getting my bag ready to walk the 10 blocks from my apartment on Central Park West up to 118th and Amsterdam.

10.00AM—Arrive at the All Ivy Sustainable Development Fair to scope out potential employment opportunities. Graduation is only a few months away and then I have some loans to pay off, so better work the network and pass out some business cards.

11.00AM—Meeting with my Capstone group and our advisor to discuss plans for our upcoming trip to Haiti over spring break, review our survey questionnaire, complete the stakeholder analysis and mapping exercise, and assign tasks for the next week.  There’s a lot to do, but thank goodness we’ve got a solid, hardworking group. Group work is not so bad when you can count on your team.

1.00 PM—Grab a quick lunch with two of my group members at Brads. Tucking into sandwiches and salad we discuss life before SIPA. Jeremy lived in Italy for 7 years- he used to work for the FAO and before that he was posted there as a sergeant in the US Air Force. He’s a Macroeconomics TA and will be proctoring the 1st years’ midterm exam later today. He and his Italian wife speak French at home and are planning to visit a new US state every month this year.

Ben is from California and is doing the long distance thing with his girlfriend in medical school. He’s interested in conflict resolution, worked interviewing refugees in Zambia with the UN Relief Works Agency last summer, and he’s also interned with CARE in the Gaza Strip. He speaks Arabic and is working part time as a Program Assistant at the State Department Office downtown. I’m always amazed by SIPA students- their amazing talents, their diverse backgrounds, and how they manage to do everything they’re doing while at school.

2.00 PM—Swing by the Office of Admissions to log a few hours: update Apply Yourself and filing new documents that have come in, respond to a number of emails, answer phone calls from prospective students, and sit down with one or two who have just come out of the 12PM info session.  Answer questions they may have about student life and the different programs.

4.00PM—Attend the MPA-DP Development Practitioners Seminar for MPA Development Practice students.  Every week development professionals join us to talk about their careers and the challenges they’ve faced in the field, allowing us to ask lots of questions at the end. Today Maha Bahamdoun, a Yemeni national who has managed UNDP projects all over North and sub-Saharan Africa, fields questions like, “Do you feel the work you’ve done has lived up to the idealistic expectations you had when you entered the UN? Are you still excited to go to work every day?” Good question!

5.30PM—Another amazing SIPA classmate- a dual degree student with Sciences Po in Paris, Alisia, teaches a free yoga class at Barnard. Work up a good sweat and get those shakras flowing. This is making up for the run I missed.

7.00PM—Hurry home to shower and change before heading to Apryl’s house warming party (she’s MIA Urban and Social Policy). Wine, cheese, and appetizers count as dinner, right?

10.00PM—House party is winding down as people talk about checking out the SIPA Pan Africa Network (SPAN) or Latin American Students Association (LASA) parties tonight.

It is a Friday, so I can sleep in tomorrow… until I remember I’m going to a museum in the morning with a friend in Queens, and then a group meeting for my Tools for Advocacy class, and dinner with another friend who’s swinging through town… I’d better get a good night’s sleep…. Well, Ok, maybe just one hour at the SPAN party, I love the music… Ok, and one hour at the LASA party, I LOVE the dancing…

2.00AM—Finally back in bed. It’s already tomorrow. Just another day in the life of an over-committed 2nd year SIPA student!