Goal Setting with Calah

Calah McQuarters, MBA/MPP '24

November 21, 2023

Calah McQuartersHello Heller Admissions Blog Readers,

It’s midterm time here at Heller and I don’t know about everyone else, but my exhaustion mixed with over caffeination (if that’s even a word) is slowly leading to a little delirium. But we will remedy that with a couple of mental health days in the future. For now, we are pushing through!

Now that I am a month and a half into my second year at Heller, I want to talk about a few things I’m looking forward to as a second year graduate student. When you’re just starting grad school it can be so overwhelming to focus on anything other than class, especially if you’ve been out of school for any length of time. So much of the first year can feel like a transition that you miss or intentionally avoid opportunities to engage with the city or your peers outside of class. I know that was a lot of my first year experience. In an effort to be a serious graduate student, I forgot about life happening outside of the four walls of a classroom. Now, I wasn’t a complete hermit crab during my first year, but I definitely did take advantage of all the additional opportunities given to me as a grad student. 

So! During my second year, here’s what I hope to do:

  1. Attend Heller events!To be completely honest, I am not starting off well with this goal, but there are many more months to try! Heller puts on so many events throughout the year, from mental health, to information sessions, to speaker series. Each event is made for students to both enjoy and learn! A few upcoming events I plan to attend are Heller’s Alumni and Student Networking Event and a talk on Slavery, Citizenship, and the Afterlife of Gender-Based Violence. I’ll report back on how these go!
  2. Heller Startup ChallengeThis unique Heller opportunity is for all my entrepreneurial readers! Heller StartUp Challenge, held in the fall semester every year, is an intensive weekend challenge where students interested in starting a social enterprise can form teams and craft and present their idea with the chance of winning a cash prize. I personally have no interest in entrepreneurship. (Shout out to all my entrepreneurs in the world! You’re needed!) But I will be participating as a mentor! Using the skills I learned in past consulting experiences and TCP, I will be helping participants create their best presentation slides!
  3. Outside concerts, events, and marketsThere are so many fun things to do in the Greater Boston area! If you’re interested in hearing about just a few, consider following The Boston calendar. Every week they publish a list of events going on in Massachusetts. Winter markets, music festivals, and a tour or two are on my list of must dos. I am also looking forward to getting out of Boston and taking a few day trips to surrounding states. As a person from Tulsa, Oklahoma I’m not used to traveling an hour and being in another state, so I definitely want to take advantage of that while I can!
  4. Helping first year students and planning aheadGraduate school goes by fast. It feels like just yesterday that I was walking in late for Heller orientation (don’t judge me). And as I said before, graduate school can be overwhelming. So! I am very excited to help as many of my Heller peers navigate this crazy time as possible. I am also excited to start thinking about what’s next. With a little over a year under my belt and a little over a year left in my graduate journey, I am in the perfect place to dream, try, and prepare for what comes after. 

The second year of graduate school (while a little stressful) has been great thus far and I can’t wait to check off my second year bucket list as the days go by!