A Day in the Life of an IEDPer, Literally 3: Snippets from my Monday

One of the most frequently asked questions during virtual information sessions, email exchanges, phone conversations, etc. with prospective students is “What does your typical day at IEDP look like?” And too many times we struggle to provide crisp answer to that question mostly because our typical days look all very different! It depends on whom you ask, on what day of the week you ask and which point of the semester you ask. But with this series post, we are trying to give our best shot at this question.


Originally from Long Beach, New York, Laura is a first-year IEDP student. She works as a graduate assistant for the IEDP program and also as a research assistant for Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher. Laura plans to finish the program in a year and a half and is currently enrolled in 4 courses (3.5 CU). 


8:00 am– I wake up around 8 am with the sun shining in through my window.  I am very lucky not to have any early morning courses this semester. It’s been wonderful to have time to prepare for my classes, have a nice breakfast, and fit in a workout or some stretching! Today, I take the 10-minute walk down the street to Studio 34 for yoga. Having this “me” time has been a nice change of pace from the fall semester.

10:00 am– I return home to the West Philly house that I share with four roommates and two cats. After a quick shower, I make two fried eggs and some coffee and enjoy my breakfast with some readings for class.


12:00 pm-2:00 pm– I leave my house around 11:30 am to walk to school. My house is only a 13 minute walk from the GSE building (yes, I’ve timed it!). I listen to some NPR news on the way in. Today I have my Indigenous Education and Language Revitalization class with Dr. Nancy Hornberger. Even with elective courses, you are bound to have a few IEDP friends as classmates (hi Liam, Ale, and Meilin!). Today’s lesson focuses on Master-Apprentice and Immersion programs and leads to a lively discussion.

2:05-3:00 pm– After class, I head downstairs to the GSE study area for a group meeting. We are reviewing some fieldnotes we took last week for our Qualitative Modes of Inquiry class.

Talking through potential policy alternatives with classmates in the Grad Student Center

3:00 pm-4:30 pm– By this time, I need a pick-me-up. I head over to the Graduate Student Center (GSC, not to be confused with GSE!) for a cup of green tea. Some days, I stop in to GSC multiple times for tea, coffee, or just to visit with friends. Today I am greeted by some friendly IEDP faces sitting at tables near the large windows. We gather around to go over our current Proseminar assignment. I have always learned best by talking through things, so these impromptu chats are super helpful (not to mention fun). Around 4 pm, the wonderful Ms. Lois calls out from Gnome Café that she has some extra soup to give away. We all line up for some carrot basil soup and remember why hanging around the Grad Student Center is the best.

IEDP friends enjoying the reception after a Perry World House event

5:00-6:30 pm– Perry World House is hosting a premiere of Shattering Refuge, a documentary short about the media’s role in the refugee crisis. A few cohort mates and I make the short walk from GSC to Perry World House to watch the film and listen to the subsequent panel. As always, the event ends with a beautiful reception where we all hang around and share our thoughts about what we have heard. I haven’t been grocery shopping in a few days, so I fill up my Tupperware from lunch with some extra cheese and hummus before making the 10-minute walk back to my house.

7:00- 8:00 pm– Back at home, I settle in on the living room couch to finish some of my graduate assistant work. The IEDP has a number of graduate assistants each year who help keep the program running smoothly (think: event planning, social media outreach, and this blog!). One of my duties is to create weekly and monthly newsletters for faculty, staff, alumni, and current students. Tonight, I work on making final edits to the monthly newsletter that will go out in the morning.

8:00 pm– My nightly ritual includes green tea, dark chocolate, and lots of books.


11 pm– No matter how much work I have, I have trouble staying up past 10:30 pm. I find that my brain just refuses to function at this time, and so there is no point fighting it. Luckily, this forces me to be as productive as possible during the day.

Tomorrow will be busier: I have two classes back to back, followed by a campus event and group meeting. Wednesday’s are my day to hunker down on campus and work, both on GA duties and class assignments. On, Thursday the entire cohort comes together for Proseminar. Overall, this semester is a bit lighter for me than last semester (5 classes was do-able, but a lot). I am sure things will start to pick up in April, though, when we have the Comparative and International Education Society Conference in San Francisco and our Capstone Policy Briefs. I hope you enjoyed following my Monday as an IEDPer!

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