|Photo taken minutes prior to hugging my friends goodbye and crying.|
Things I've loved
- The level of intellectual challenge at graduate school has been quite enjoyable. I moved out East to learn more about quantitative analysis and methods, and this semester has been full of python for data science, data visualization in Stata, and conceptual learning of ordinary least squares regression, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, instrumental variables and machine learning (just had a lunch and learn on random forests and boosting). The best part has been learning concepts and immediately being able to apply them at work. Though I'm by no means a data science engineer, I can follow discussions about stratified randomization and bootstrapping, and all this stuff is less intimidating than used to be.
- I won't lie; the amenities abound at a private university and they are nice. Sit/stand desks at the library? Free digital subscription to the Wall Street Journal? Keurigs in every kitchenette? Keypad lockers? Blackout shades in conference rooms? "Is this what it's like to be rich?" I've remarked multiple times to my classmates.
James Forman, Jr. and Tom Perez had me so inspired!!
- I have also loved being able to hear from (and sometimes even meet) passionate and thoughtful leaders. After hearing from James Forman Jr. I was like, "Do I want to work in public defense now?" After meeting Tom Perez I was like, "Do I want to work for the DNC now??" After hearing from John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden I was like, "Do I want to staff an elected now???" Their love of the work and the people they're advocating for really encouraged me. They're living examples of the marriage of intellect and mission, which is what I am all about.
- But of course, my favorite part of graduate school has been spending time with my friends. We go to class together, study together, share meals together, celebrate birthdays together.. My friends are kind, smart, socially conscious, fun (and funny). I would not have made it in this program without them keeping me sane and reminding me of the bigger picture. I miss them so much in my heart already!!