The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
I have attended Alumni/Student networking events, where I have made effective contacts which have already begun to guide me in interesting directions—not to mention making friends.
Class projects provided a means for me to find out more about issues I was passionate about. The connections I made with faculty were invaluable in directing my research, studies and contact to practitioners in the field.
During the Spring of my first year at Wagner, I began having advising sessions with OCS staff, and as a result, have been engaging in comprehensive assignments to make me thoughtful and proactive about building the career path of my choice. I am so grateful to OCS. They have been especially helpful this year as I narrow my focus, prepare for and succeed during interviews, and accept or decline offers.
I think there are two important points about academics to concentrate on: use class assignments to help you do more at your organization (or one you want to go to) and really take classes that you see helping you down the road.
My goals have become more clear and tangible. I have done a lot of self discovery of my talents and limitations.
I have used class assignments to find out more about issues on several occasions. I wrote a paper on small business assistance that prompted a research center to apply for a grant to study the same issue -- they received the grant, and I ended up with a full-time, summer research position and the opportunity to co-author the study.
Reading daily, weekly, monthly publications/ newspapers/ journals is extremely important in my field. I have to stay current on what are the important topics that are affecting the mental health research field in order to inform my own research.
Because of my interest in NYC issues, I read the Gotham Gazette almost every day. It provides a good summary of city issues and politics. It has led to useful academic sources of information and has also proved useful in interviews.
It was crucial for me to get an internship my first year because I had zero public sector experience. I worked very hard to get an internship at NYC Office of Management and Budget, and partly got it because I was willing to work unpaid. I then worked at CHPSR my second year in a research function, which was huge for me.
I find working full-time while going to school part-time creates a good system of checks and balances in terms of how things work in the 'real' world, and it provides an opportunity to bring new skills from the classroom to my job.