Archive for May, 2010


A Letter to the Class of 2014, From a Graduating Senior

May 21, 2010

By Patrick Hanley

Dear Class of 2014:

Welcome to your new home. I choose these words carefully. The Elliott School of International Affairs is not a factory, or a diet. Four years of carefully structured curriculum does not produce diplomats, or transform x into y. The Elliott School is a workshop. It provides toolboxes, blueprints, and the avuncular advice of staff and faculty. The fact of the matter is; you will build your house.

My house did not turn out as I had planned. The nuts and bolts of Chinese language or Asian Affairs did not quite fasten into the beams I brought to the table. After a year of studying the language and thrusting myself into advanced courses, it turns out I simply couldn’t inspire myself with ZhongGuoHua or Beijing’s foreign initiatives, the way I envisioned it. Sophomore year, I examined the blueprints for my second bedroom, international economics, and to my chagrin I realized I no longer liked the shape of the house. Instead of stripping screws and soldiering on, or quitting on the house altogether, I found new supplies that fit my wood, and I redrew the blueprints.

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