I arrived at Foundations, a little jetlagged from the return flight from Lima. Bags still packed, I checked in at the TEC not knowing what to expect from Foundations. Would it be challenging? A bore? Fun? From experiencing it myself and subsequently interviewing many of my new friends, it was all of the above.
First, the positives. Anela Perviz, of Bosnia, called it “grad school summer camp! It’s the best description I can think of. It brought all of us closer together.” I enjoyed how the Foundations Leaders gathered us into cohorts, but also split us up at times to meet as many people as possible. It may have been a little confusing at times (One day, I was a Coyote Gold Birthday Past June group. That’s a lot of divisions!), but the effect was befriending many new students beyond my cohort, making my first days at Thunderbird that much more enjoyable.
Most of the complaints I heard were directed at the length of the program, and some of the sessions being unnecessary. James Robson, of Phoenix, stated that “it was a rewarding experience all together, but it all could have been done in a week.” Many of the older students mentioned it was one week in the past, and that they expanded it to make the G-5 delegations a little less stressful. Thinking back, I would have rather it been one week, with all the stress involved. It would have prepared us better for the workload that we now face being a week into school. Two and a half weeks was just too long.
In my opinion, the G-5 delegations were the most enjoyable part of Foundations. It taught us to work in a multicultural group, how to schedule ourselves again, and brought us into a scholarly way of thinking moving into the first week of classes. I also learned a lot about compromise, how many viewpoints may affect decision-making, and how heated you can become about an issue that is not your own, if asked to defend it.
All in all, Foundations was a great end to a summer, and an incredible way to be introduced to Thunderbird. Many thanks to all the organizers, cohort leaders, and staff that put on a very intense two and a half weeks. The hard work paid off.