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May 18, 2020

Sejal Luthra: Novel graduation 2020; Wrap-up blog post

Sejal Luthra completed her bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Delhi in India before studying at MSU as a graduate student fellow during the past two years at the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research in the College of Social Science. She’s pursuing opportunities with for-profit and non-profit groups focused on policy advocacy and consulting as she graduates.

As I am writing this wrap up blog, the whole country is at a standstill; everyone is locked up in their homes and our graduation ceremonies have been postponed to an uncertain date. It is surreal and unexpected that we leave this institution without meeting any of our friends and professors. 

Yet, nobody can take away the fact that I am a proud graduate of public policy from MSU. I am grateful that in this turbulent time, every member of the MSU community has extended immeasurable support and solidarity to make sure this moment of glory does not pass uncelebrated for students who are concluding this milestone achievement.

When I entered MSU two years ago, I left my country for the first time, but with a determination to learn. As an international student, it is always daunting to venture into a new country with no fall back if you fail.

However, the warmth and support that I have received from every individual I have interacted has made me feel welcomed and appreciated for who I am. 

My two years at this institution has been nothing but a process of personal and professional growth. With access to numerous resources and scholarly professors, I was able to develop the skills I wanted to hone and take the academic direction necessary for my career. As I leave this institution, I am more confident in my skills, more aware of the career path I want to tread on and more resilient to reach my goals.

I will miss the long hours at the library, completing group projects to be submitted the next day and organizing group meet-ups to celebrate concluding semesters. I would like to thank the IPPSR faculty and my fellow researchers for keeping me on my toes for any latest political happenings and for thoroughly engaging discussions. 

As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I plan to apply my acquired knowledge and analytical skills to real world policy making and novel research projects. I care about poverty alleviation in the developing world and want to explore the intersection of poverty, education and employment. My futuristic goal is to be in a position to make tangible change for issues I care about. 

For those considering MPP degrees or any other graduate studies, one piece of advice is to make this journey your learning process. Many students entering master’s degree programs are apprehensive about being aware of their specific research interests, which can be intimidating. Letting yourself be, enjoying the process and being cognizant of various opportunities as they come your way will take you wherever you want to be.

In the end, I would like to congratulate the 2020 cohort of MPP, the entire outgoing student body and wish everyone the best of luck. I am proud to have met some amazing people whom I know are dedicated and passionate and will do wonders with their work. Kudos and cheers to all. 

This story was repurposed from