Yeah, it was a lot… but I’m back!

No title could more accurately describe where I am. I’ve been an awful blogger, leaving our dearest audience up in the air for a good couple weeks since CIES. Looking at it from a different perspective, that in and of itself shows what the life of IEDPers looks like towards the end of the second semester (not trying to justify myself here! no… probably not, you know): whirlwind of work, work, work and work, and it feels like we just got sucked into it…

Type it away!

Honestly, it feels a bit overwhelming and I’m still trying to figure out from where I should pick it up with the blogging business. But I figured, when confused, the best way to go about it is in chronological order — I will start with CIES review, then move on to policy brief poster session, and the end of year fun stuff! More CIES reviews with perspectives and experiences that are different from mine will come in the following week.

But before I jump back in to the regular business grind, I thought you owe my explanation on what went on in the past couple weeks. The blogger who was more or less regular with her publishing schedule throughout the academic year, why did this person just totally disappear? Is gradschool THAT bad?

Really… what am I getting myself into?

There is always room for improvement but I personally think I did try to be more proactive and procrastinate less to avoid the havoc at the end of the year. For instance, I worked on my policy brief research quite a bit while in CIES, started making my policy brief poster during my visit to Palo Alto afterwards, and started writing the actual body text for the policy brief right after the poster session. Was I on my A game the hundred percent of the time in those efforts? But some progress were made.

Looking back at myself in the last two weeks and talking to my fellow cohort mates, I’ve come to realize that the policy brief assignment has a weird spell on us… in that it totally sucks in our attention and energy.


I talked about this briefly in my post about the policy brief but because it is a topic that we really care about and are interested in, it’s hard to stop thinking about it once you are in the loop. I do distinctly remember dreading to pause policy brief writing and switch to assignment due for other classes.

For some others, their policy brief might not be about the topic they are the most passionate about. Still, even in that case, policy brief sucks in all your energy and attention because it is one of the program completion requirement projects and we all want to do well!

If you were not proactive about it, it will be much worse. If you were proactive about it, it won’t be as bad but it will still take up all your mental energy! It is a good thing to keep in mind that when you are here, your last three to four weeks of spring semester will be a whirlwind.

And when there’s a price, there’s a reward as well — I feel like researching and writing the policy brief was such a great learning experience. Many prospective students ask about how you develop regional expertise when there are not many region-specific courses available at GSE. Well, policy brief will be THE opportunity for you then. Prior to writing this policy brief, I didn’t really have any background understanding of education in Ghana but now, I am more familiar with the general structure of the system, the history of education reforms and what are some of the key issues frequently brought up in the discussion of education in Ghana. Definitely not enough to call myself an expert but I’ve got to secure a good footing that could get me started.


There must’ve been other things that I was preoccupied with, which led me to neglect blog for a bit, but nothing stands out to be in retrospect. Oh, for those who could not finalize internship assignment till last minute, that could’ve been another one. Getting immunization forms, looking for a sublease taker for the apartment in Philly (the real pain in the neck), applying for visas (can be very complicated for some countries), etc. etc.

Anyhow, happy to be almost over with this hectic time of the year, and also can’t wait to publishing posts under a different tab in this blog (a.k.a. International Internship). Stay tuned for CIES review!


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