Week One in Review by Jen Wolin

The following reflection was written by Jen Wolin, a new student at the Josef Korbel School. 

Week One: Sink or Swim

As my first official week of graduate studies comes to a close, I can’t help but feel a combined sense of accomplishment and relief. As a student who graduated from her undergraduate institution just four months ago, starting grad school was a tad intimidating, to say the least. You walk the halls among former Peace Corps volunteers, government employees and students who just have done amazing things with their lives. It can be difficult to feel like you are on the same level. After all, my one study abroad experience could not possibly compare to the three years you spent living in Tanzania, right? I cannot tell you how many times I sat listening in awe of my fellow classmates after hearing some of their experiences. But that is the beauty of Korbel: We all hail from such different backgrounds and life experiences, and yet we are each qualified to be here. For me, that became much more apparent in a classroom setting. I expected to feel overwhelmed and behind right from the start, as if I was just going to drown in the words and the workload that my classmates seemed to expect. To my amazement, quite the opposite happened. I actually felt engaged, prepared and like I could hold my own in such an intense environment. For me, that was my biggest accomplishment of this first week: Ending it feeling as though I was safely on board the academic ship, and not sinking into the depths down below.

What does the first two weeks at the University of Denver look like?

(as told by Hannah, a first-year GFTEI at the JKSIS)

I moved here the first part of September and don’t think I will ever leave. I love it. My mom and I drove the fourteen hour haul from the Quad Cities to Denver all in one day – starting at 5am our time and arrived just before 7pm MST.

The first night here I was eager to explore the area, but traveling can take a lot out of you! Something that I did not expect to happen from riding shotgun from sunrise to sunset. The following days were filled with apartment shopping and familiarizing myself with different parts of Denver. We picked up my boyfriend from the Denver airport in the morning, visited downtown, several malls, and finally stopped for my first time on DU’s campus.

Deciding on a school that you’ve never visited is kind of a scary thought. After all, photos can be photo shopped and edited right? (That’s why you’re choosing Korbel based on academics, not the scenery.)No worries though, I swear it is the most beautiful campus that I have ever visited. It isn’t huge, but it’s spacious. Whoever does the landscaping – I vow to hire to landscape my dream home someday.  The cosmetics aside, from the moment I stepped foot on campus I felt like I belonged.

Orientation started Tuesday morning with breakfast on the lawn and lasted throughout the afternoon. This was the first day I had actually met any of my future classmates, roommate, professors, and even my new Admissions team. With new opportunities and information coming from the right and left, the day flew by. I took the next few hours to process all the amazing things that were going to happen in the next two years. It really is crazy to think about still. The people that I met today, and the things I learned about, are going to make a tremendous impact on my future in just two short years. If time flies by like it did in undergrad, I will be done in the blink of an eye. But it’s true, in the next two years I will grow academically and professionally in the direction of my future career. Endless opportunities.

That night we ran around town to pick up a few things I would need before moving into my apartment, and I insisted that I practiced finding the nearest Target and grocery store from campus so I wouldn’t get lost my first time out. This is the night we found Paxti’s. go there. The pizza is great, but the company is even better. Our waitress even sat down at our table with us to tell me about different things I can do in Denver and cool places to visit! Everyone in this town is so friendly!!!

On the morning of the third, I was able to move into my apartment. Amanda (my roommate) and I moved into some apartments about a five minute walk to campus. Perfect location. They are clean, new, and perfect for the two of us! We unloaded my little car in the morning, and I couldn’t believe how it filled up a room. Who knew I could squeeze most of my belongings into a little four door? I did up my room and bathroom before getting ready to head back to DU for the second part of orientation with the Office of Career and Professional Development in the afternoon. I am so fortunate to have such outstanding people to help me with my resume, internships, job searches, etc. for the next two years. You better believe that I’ll be in there on a weekly basis getting myself prepared for what lies ahead!

That night my dad, sister, and brother-in-law got into town. They had rented a car to drive out and bring the rest of my things to me. All three of them had earned a well-deserved mini vacation too and we were going to have a blast while they were here. We unpacked that car and then went to grab dinner together as a big, happy, family!

Thursday I didn’t have orientation, but I did have an awesome day ahead of me. I wanted the others to see campus too, so I gave them a quick tour before we headed off to Pike’s Peak. It is about an hour and a half outside of Denver, but I highly recommend going if you are ever in the area. Before we took the cog train up the mountain, we grabbed a quick lunch in the small town of Manitou at the base of the mountain. Then we were ready!

This cog railway started over a hundred years ago in 1891 and to date is the world’s highest as it climbs to an altitude of 14,115 feet! It was an awesome experience that I was able to share with my family and I learned a lot too! These were the views that inspired the writing of “America the Beautiful” and when you reach the top you can see FIVE states in the distance. As it was forty degrees cooler than at the base of the mountain, it was a chilly trip, but I cannot imagine a better way to be welcomed to Colorado. Before heading back to Denver, we went around the little stores around Manitou Springs (there were some neat things there!) We stopped in Colorado Springs at a Mexican restaurant called Salsa Brava, which I also recommend. They said they even had some back in Denver not too far away from DU Campus! We got back to the city around 8:30 and I enjoyed the last few hours that I knew I would be able to spend with my family before my new life started here in Denver.

Friday morning my family dropped me off at the apartment and we said our goodbyes. Amanda and I each had our work-study orientations. That’s why I am here in the Office of Graduate Admission at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and I could not be happier with my on-campus job. I love the other work-study graduate students as well as my supervisors. We are a great group to come visit if you are interested in Korbel!!! That afternoon I met back up with Amanda at the apartment before heading over to happy hour for first-years at the Pioneer, a little pub a few blocks away from campus. We met up with some friends we had made at orientation and even met a few new friends that night before heading back to the apartment.

Saturday, Amanda and I took to the town. We picked up things for the apartment, took a few scenic tours and got to know the area all day. I really think Denver is going to be one great place to study AND live!

Sunday and Monday I had free before classes got started at Korbel and I took that time to get acquainted with the syllabi and material. I had some time for fun though too! I haven’t really ever had to cook for myself before so making lunches and dinners are always a funny experience. I have to say though that Amanda is teaching me well and I am getting the hang of it.

Tuesday was my first day as a Josef Korbel Graduate student. I had my first day of work in the morning and then my first class, Economic Fundamentals. It’s a small class with about ten students, but I am excited to see where each of our experiences will come to the table. It’s a great group of individuals with various backgrounds and skills to learn from!

Wednesday I don’t have classes, but I do get to come hang out with all the cool kids in the Office in the mornings. That night I came back to campus with Amanda to work on a few things while she had night class. Our Ben M. Cherrington hall is a boppin’ place. There were students engaged in all kinds of fascinating conversations all day long and it seems like it’s going to be a great place to meet even more new people! Undergrad was great and I had so much fun – but here at Korbel we are ALL interested in international affairs and are all always excited to get into these kinds of conversations. It’s a place where I am sure to grow both in and outside of the classroom.

Thursday morning I had what I hope to be the most exciting class in my schedule – International Political Economics with Dr. Holland. IPE is the main factor that brought me to graduate school and I am super excited to see where this course takes me. I think economics alone is fascination – then you add political aspects to it and BAM! Pure genius. Thursday afternoons, I am back in the Office and meeting prospective students is becoming one of my favorite things to do. I love Korbel so much already and I just have to let them know that they will too!!!

Friday, just one class and a few hours in the Office separating me from the weekend. I wasn’t so sure about taking a Statistics course, but after my morning with Dr. Desai, I know that it is going to be a blast. He had all of the students engaged and even cracked a few jokes here and there. Who knew math could be funny?! I recognized some faces in my class and I am almost bummed that it will be a whole week before we meet again! After class I met with the Office of Career and Professional Development to hone my resume before applying to internships. Diane is one amazing lady – after a brief 30 minute meeting, my resume has completely been transformed! I am excited to make a few changes and get my search for a killer internship started. Friday afternoon in the Office flew by and now I am ready to start my weekend off right with the 2nd Annual Crimson Classic!

Let’s meet in New York

I’m leaving this weekend for the APSIA admission fair in New York City and Washington, D.C. If you happen to be in town for either event, stop by and say hello.

New York City: 

  • Location: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Time: Monday Sept 15, 5:30-9PM

Washington, D.C.:

  • Location: The Marvin Center, George Washington University
  • Time: Wednesday Sept 17th 6-8PM

Brad Miller

Director of Admissions

 

 

Dr. Condoleezza Rice selected as Korbel Dinner speaker

Each year, the Josef Korbel School hosts the Korbel Dinner, a fundraising event benefiting the school. Last year, this event raised more than $100,000 that went back to student scholarships. This is a great event that directly benefits students at the Josef Korbel School. This year’s speaker is Dr. Condoleezza Rice who earned two degrees from the Josef Korbel School (PhD ’81, BA ’74). Learn more about the event here.