My Experience at SPEA’s Spring Experience Day

Today’s blog post about attending SPEA’s Spring Experience Day comes from first year MPA/MSES student, Kristin Shaw.

The spring semester of my senior year was coming to an end, so finals, papers, and project deadlines were starting to sneak up on me. I took one weekend off, amidst the craziness, to attend SPEA’s Spring Experience Day.

At the time, I still wasn’t sure which school I would attend to pursue my advanced degree, but as soon as I got to Bloomington, I felt welcomed by my host and started to fall in love with both Bloomington, IN and SPEA. The opportunity to visit SPEA allowed me to see what a day in the life of a SPEA student is like, and the event helped me understand SPEA students’ devotion to schoolwork and how they balance school and student life.

Having arrived early on the day before the event, I was able to sit in on a class before my host and I headed to Uptown for a great meal and an opportunity to meet other prospective students and current SPEA students. During the meal, I learned what a Hoosier really is, where the best restaurants in Bloomington are, the reasons that the current students chose SPEA, and what they all were studying.

Friday was a jam-packed day, full of more information about the program. We started the morning with some icebreakers and a delicious breakfast. Once the information sessions began, all of my questions about the MPA program were answered. We talked about concentrations, the different degree programs, options for studying abroad, different opportunities for funding, and ended the day with an inspirational speech from Jennifer Forney, Director of Student Services, that helped solidify my decision to attend SPEA.

But the day wasn’t quite done yet, and we went back to my host’s apartment to get dressed up for the SPEA Gala & Auction, where money is raised for student funding through a live and silent auction. Gala was a great chance to see the family-like qualities SPEA has, as students mingled with professors. My favorite part was the live auction when students competitively bid for a coveted cooking class with one of the professors.

By the end of the day, I had fallen in love with SPEA and Bloomington. The icing on the cake would have been experiencing the Bloomington farmers market on Saturday morning, but instead I had to fly back to finish my papers and projects, and prepare for finals. Even as I flew back, I knew that picking a grad school was much less daunting, having attended the Spring Experience Day. As a first year MPA/MSES student, I’m excited to see what I can accomplish during my time at SPEA!


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