When Opportunity Knocks

Later this month I’m going on a family vacation in Ocean City, MD. On a Sunday morning, when the rest of my family is having breakfast and preparing for another two days at the beach, I’m hopping in a car and making a 6 1/2 hour drive north to distinctly un-beach-like Farmington, CT, where I’ll spend the next five days staying in an eighteenth-century house and stare at prints, engravings, and paintings for six to eight hours a day. Willingly. Clearly I chose the right academic pursuit.

This won’t be my first trip to Connecticut to utilize some of Yale’s facilities, though certainly the most involved. How the trip came about could be called coincidence and luck, but really it’s the best example of networking I’ve experienced to date. The class is offered by the Lewis Walpole Library, which is owned by Yale and offers week-long master classes on a regular basis. Many of these classes are for Yale students only, or at least geared that way. As it happened, this particular class has two open spots. I found out about it from a fellow graduate (to whom I was introduced by a classmate who was in the same fellowship program two years ago) who heard about it from her advisor. Information made it down the line, and a few days later I’ve locked down accommodations and started to look into travel options.

In turn, this class will be an opportunity to build connections at the library as well as at the numerous other institutions we’ll visit, and the seven other graduate students I’ll be meeting for the first time at the opening session. Not bad for what almost amounts to a short vacation right before the start of the semester.


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