As my first semester of graduate school comes to a close (I cannot believe I’m saying that!), I thought I’d share some reflections of how my first few months as an MPP student at Price have been. Some things have been just as I’d expected and some things have been different, but it’s fair to say it’s already shaping up to be an awesomely transformative experience.
One of the things I heard from students, staff, and other ambassadors coming into the program was how close the MPP cohorts would become. This was a great selling point for me coming in, but how close my cohort has become has definitely exceeded my expectations. Price put tremendous effort into attracting talented people from all different backgrounds: some of us have worked internationally, others have deep political or other relevant experience, and some even came straight from undergrad. Everyone, though, has contributed so much to class discussions, project work, and our social activities and organizations through their background and insights. It’s been a huge treat to get to know so many engaged and accomplished people, many of whom have quickly become close friends.
Group work in my classes has provided another outlet to work with and get to know more members of my cohort. Every class has had a group component – 3 of my 4 first semester MPP courses have involved semester-long group projects, while the other has incorporated extensive group discussion and assignments. All of my classes have provided lots of discussion opportunities both in class and for our assignments. This is one of the biggest things I was looking forward to coming to Price and I’ve enjoyed getting to learn from so many of my classmates. I didn’t have any political or policy experience before the program, so the insights of my classmates have been particularly valuable. Being surrounded by others so passionate about making a difference makes enduring the hard work of the program that much better.
Another major aspect of my experience so far has been Price’s organizations. I’ve been able to be involved in the planning of the Bay Area Policy Forum and also joined the Graduate Policy and Administration Community (GPAC) Programming Committee. We’ve put on great events such as the Case Challenge, discussions with Black Lives Matter and the Price Education Network, mixers, and trips to cool events like Long Beach Beach Streets. Through these orgs I’ve been able to meet many students from other programs as well. Many other great groups exist too, and there’s something for everyone. These are great forums to make your cohort’s voice heard and to shape your Price experience outside of class.
From my classmates to how easy it’s been to get involved, my Price experience so far has surpassed the high expectations I had before coming to USC. When joining the MPP program, be prepared to be surrounded by other extremely talented people who will enrich your life from the get go, and be ready for a wonderfully challenging semester!
-Jeremy Bates, MPP c/o 2018