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How To Make the Most of Your First Semester at The New School

This post is part of the SMS Advising Series for New Students. All posts are designed and curated to make the lives of newly admitted students much easier. From academic resources to having a social life in NYC, we want to make sure that our students get the best of ALL worlds!

How to Make the Most of Your First Semester at the New School! 

The first semester can be one of the most challenging times in a degree program, from meeting new people to managing the workload of graduate level courses. So we put together a few tips that will help you to navigate your first semester here at The New School and make the most of your time with us.

Connect with peers outside of the classroom: Whether your ambitions are creative, professional, or academic, the importance of networking is paramount. However, it is also important to build relationships with your peers outside the classroom. The New School offers a variety of ways to accomplish this in the form of reading groups, clubs and organizations, or events and public programming. Narwhal Nation is the hub for these extracurricular activities and the team there has worked hard adapting to the changes brought about by COVID-19. You can also keep up with events being put on by the School of Media Studies on SMS Commons.

Take advantage of Career Services: It is important that you also begin thinking about where you want your graduate degree to take you. Graduate students can access career counseling through HireNew and meet with Hope Newman, their career advisor. She is a terrific resource in your first semester for helping to orient your New School experience toward your specific career goals. Career Services also host events including development workshops and career fairs. These are helpful alongside the School of Media Studies own programming, which include industry panels aimed at connecting students to accomplished professionals. Both Career Services and the School of Media Studies have worked to adapt these events to COVID-19, so these resources can stay open to students.

Don’t be afraid to talk with your instructors: In graduate school the relationship you cultivate with your instructors is more important than ever before in your academic career. When you begin to interact with your instructors in the classroom, during office hours, or striking up a conversation in the hall, be open about your goals and projects to connect with faculty who have experience in that field. This will make it easier when it comes time to pick an advisor for your thesis or capstone work. Speaking of which. . .

Start thinking about your capstone or thesis project: Your final project, whether it be a thesis or capstone, is a space that allows you to fully develop the skills and ideas you have been working on throughout the program. While your first semester may seem a bit early to begin thinking about something which seems so far away, it isn’t as far as you think. By keeping your final project in mind you will be better positioned to chart out your course through the program, which classes you are interested in taking, and which instructors you are interested in working with. Two years may seem like a long time, but it goes by fast.

If you are struggling with deciding on a set of goals for your time in the program you can always reach out to Robbie Powers (MA Media Studies advisor) or Christelle Petit-Homme (MS Media Management advisor). You will also work with a full-time faculty member based on your area of interest, they will be a valuable resource to help you in deciding how you want to design your course of study over the next two years.

Written by: Daniel Pemberton

Daniel Pemberton is an MA Media Studies student at The New School. He has worked in copywriting, videography, music journalism, and even directed a few short films. His main passion is in research, working at the intersection of digital media, film studies, visual culture, and critical theory. His work has been recognized at numerous conferences across the United States and around the world. He is currently the Graduate Student Advisor with the School of Media Studies. 


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