By Ann-Sophie Vermeersch
I think it is no surprise that the biggest events in my past week are related to the November 8 election. It’s needless to say how interesting it was to live in Boston as a foreigner and experience a historic election with an even more historic reaction. I could tell you how people in Belgium reacted, how I felt when I find out who won, how people around me reacted, and what it was like to witness the rallies, but I believe there are more suitable people out there who can discuss all of this. And I also think a lot of people don’t feel the need to continuously talk about the elections. It is time to take a break from all the buzz. That is why my post this week covers how I fill my free time when I am not in class.
Of course, before I can do relaxing activities, I must finish my schoolwork, especially with the exams just around the corner. Most of my time is spent on academic activities. I just finished a policy memo for my class in education policy, for example. I wrote a research paper on citizen participation within the city’s climate action plans and I’m working with a fellow student on another policy memo on how to make the Department of Homeland Security react to climate change in a resilient way. Even though it is a lot of work, I am very glad I’m doing so many things I will need when I start looking for a job within the public policy field.
However, I believe it is equally as important to plan breaks. I like to enjoy my free time doing three things: meeting up with friends, working out and discovering the city.
Upon my arrival in Boston, I decided to take on a new hobby to combine the first two aspects of my free time: stay in shape and meet some new friends. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of group sports offered at Northeastern. Since I wanted to try something completely new, I enrolled in yoga classes. I never thought of myself as a yogi, but it turns out I look forward to both the classes and the people. Not only did I manage to get in better shape (or at least, that’s what I like to believe), but I also met some great people. Even though the yoga class finished last week, I am still hanging out with my yogi friends.
Besides spending my time in yoga, I also like to discover the city. I created a rule for myself: To go somewhere new in the city (or in the surroundings) every week. So, this weekend, I explored the Boston Public Library. When I arrived at the library, I was amazed at how beautiful it is! I took a tour of the building and enjoyed being a tourist. Afterwards, I switched back to student mode and read some articles in the impressive reading area of the library.
So, now you know how I kept my mind off the elections and how I reward myself after some hours of writing papers!
Ann-Sophie Vermeersch is a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy. However, you won’t see her around during the spring semester. She is here as an exchange student, and she'll return to Belgium after the final exams. In Belgium, she obtained a Master’s Degree in History, and she is in the process of obtaining a Master’s in Public Policy, which she is deepening at Northeastern. She's interested in how policy deals with climate change and crises. Within those areas, she is particularly keen on finding out how citizens can be involved in the policy process. In her free time, she likes to go for a run, read some books, or have a drink and meet new people. Ann-Sophie can be reached at email@example.com, or via Facebook.