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.