SUBMITTED BY DYLAN PRYOR
This past semester, I joined six other New College students in Florida’s capital for the new Semester in Tallahassee program, thanks to the brilliant efforts of Professors Fitzgerald and Alcock, and Andrea Knies of the Center for Engagement and Opportunity. With the program poised to make a likely return next year, here are three of my most important takeaways from my experience to help you decide if Tally is right for you too.
- The internship
Professors of Political Science Keith Fitzgerald and Frank Alcock set up every participant with an internship unique to the field they wanted to explore. I worked with Lloyd Dunkelberger in the Tallahassee Bureau of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and wrote about various political and policy oriented issues throughout the spring session of the Florida Legislature. My goal was to position myself as an ideal candidate for future endeavors such as writing or a law review, in the event that I go to law school. Ultimately, my internship also sparked more interest in policy analysis, and as a result I have decided to adjust my curriculum next year to include more economics courses. The internships in general have the potential to give participants a great idea as to what they want to do after graduation.
- Taking both NCF and FSU classes
As part of the program, every students was required to participate in a new version of Professor Fitzgerald’s Florida Politics Class. The course was a welcome change from the usual routine of courses on campus, in that it often featured guest speakers with a wealth of experience in the political process. Guest speakers included Scott Arceneaux, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party; Steve Schale, the former State Director for the Barack Obama campaign in Florida; and many others.
We were also allowed to take two courses of our choosing at Florida State University (FSU). This was a great opportunity to enroll in classes New College has yet to offer, such as a web development course I took that taught me the basics of building websites. The combined contract of both NCF and FSU classes is a unique aspect of the Tallahassee program that allows you even more flexibility in designing your unique curriculum for the semester.
- Networking with alums
Tallahassee is a hotspot for New College graduates, and through our participation in the Semester in Tally program, we got to meet many of them. Monthly gatherings of the North Florida alum group were a welcome break from the usual business of the semester, and it was incredibly interesting to hear each of the alum’s stories about what they did after New College. I remember reading a recent article about how New College has one of the most helpful networks of alums, and I’m happy to say it’s absolutely accurate. If you’re considering a certain field, chances are one of the alums has already taken that path and would be more than happy to offer you advice. Learning about different alums’ experiences within their chosen field was easily a high point of the program.