Well, here I am. Just over a year ago, I was preparing to move out here for the summer Business Foundations semester. Now, I’m filling out paperwork for my internship at Providence Health Network, where I’ll be stationed until December in the Process Improvement Department.
Core 2 had a couple of rough patches where things were one after another, but all-in-all it was a great experience. I went to a conference in Chicago, talked a lot of strategy, found a new group of friends through D&D, and started a new workout. Honestly, the workout was probably the hardest, because I got sick during the first week and had to skip class. My legs were so sore that it was painful to walk to get tissues for my stuffy nose. Oh! But I did find a nice weight rack with pairs from 5-25lbs for 150$ online. So that’s pretty cool.
All and all, I know much more about business than I did this time last year. Honestly, this time last year, I didn’t know anything about business. My most common question when I meet people through the program is, “What does your day-to-day look like?” I’m anxious to find this out. While I understand how finance works, what strategy and marketing are like, etc., I still wonder what the actual 8-5p+ grind is going to look like; I’m glad I’ll have 7 months of experience on my resume come Core 3. It should lead to some more rich discussions and a lot of the class being snooty from all our business experience ,’:) I am also happy to get paid! I need to buy some more professional clothes tho…
It looks like Waco is going to be my home for a little while, and I actually do not mind that. I like my coffee shops, Kings Landing Games, I know the area, and me and the Sammy take trips to Austin when we want to go to Dave & Buster’s. Waco’s a nice place. I still would like to get back to my fam in Nashville one day, and maybe explore the northeast a bit more, but Waco is my home until then. Plus I do not have to move and my rent is low 🙂
Last year, I started looking for a group to play Dungeons and Dragons with. Yes, that’s how we’re starting today’s post. I had a bit of trouble finding a group, and gave up after about a week of light asking around, because I figured I would be too busy anyway. I didn’t have time to find my own group and schedule it out. I should give a little bit of background, since probably 1.5% of MBA students play D&D (it’s a blast though, you should at least try it once in your life).
You all have probably played or seen someone play a video game, and I’m confident that essentially every adult has played a board game before. Now, you just take those two ideas and smoosh them together, and voila! You have D&D.
Dungeons and dragons is what’s called a tabletop role playing game, or a tabletop RPG for short that was made in the 80s by a bunch of nerds, but in the past 5-10 years has gained a lot of popularity due to a combination of “nerd” stuff becoming more mainstream and the game getting watered down a bit so that anyone can have fun with it. What that basically means is that you make a character and play out that same role every time you play. The tabletop part is pretty self explanatory; it’s played on a table – though you can totally play it on a floor or any sturdy surface that you would like. Basically, there are 4-6 players who meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whenever to continue where they left of in the adventure which is run by a person with the super sexy title of Dungeon Master (aka DM). This person is the heart and soul of the game. They prepare the story, the bad guys, award treasure, plan the people that the group runs into, etc.
I’ve been a DM before, and it can be a lot of work. I feel like you should be able to put that on a resume, but that would probably get your resume put through a shredder in most places. Players have mad respect for DMs, though, because the DM has all these things that they have to know. Every time the group gets together to play, the DM has to have planned all the bits and pieces as well as know when to improvise. You have to be good at storytelling, humor, group psychology, and have a style that makes the players get excited to play every time. But some people are masochists, and they enjoy this work.
I never would have given it the time of day back in undergrad if my DM hadn’t invited me. I had the standard perception. 30 year-old men rolling dice in their basement and pushing plastic goblins around. 99% of the time, this isn’t the case. My DM was a skinny, very nice guy that was passionate about Jesus and having fun. Sure, it was a little nerdy, but so were we. So every Sunday night, I would sit down and be Beathoven, a Minotaur with a powdered wig that laid down sick music on his harpsichord whenever he got the chance. And eventually I decided I wanted to be a DM, too.
I started a group this semester while taking 19 hours of class! If you add in being a DM, it’s more like 22 hours of class, but it is a blast. I have made some great friends playing it so far. My wife Samantha is even playing with us (she is playing a dwarf cleric), and she likes it! I really did lucky when I married her.
Why am I writing all this? I don’t know. It’s on my mind? Maybe to show that business majors aren’t all guys and gals in suits that watch football, read the WSJ or NYT in the morning with avocado toast and go out for drinks on Friday nights. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that. I do in fact read the WSJ most mornings with a cup of joe after walking Willow (my new years resolution is going strong), and I wear a tie most days to class.
Life is too short to worry about what other people think of you. That’s not to say you should go streaking through your boss’s office or constantly walk around with a “sorry not sorry” attitude. But getting out of your box every once and a while and seeing life through a different lense makes it that much richer. I ask a lot of questions because I like to know things. I want my list of “what ifs” to be short when I am an old man (or robot with an old man’s brain in it, depending on if Trump will keep obstructing the scientific community).
As long as you are a good person, maturity is relative in respects to what hobbies you like. There are people who like shopping who think sports are barbaric, and there are people who like cooking who think playing video games is for losers. Humans live to be like 90 years old. That’s not a long time. Do what you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone.
Also D&D is not the worst thing that you can be doing right now. I attached a video below of people LARPing. If you ever play D&D and someone makes fun of you, you can say, “Ha-ha, well at least we’re not LARPing eheheheheh.”
Disclaimer – If, by some chance, you do like LARPing, then whatevs. At least you’re outside exercising. More power to ya.
I was a bit busy towards the end of the semester, but I did well 🙂 *brag brag*
Anyway, me and Sammy went back to Nashville over the break. My doggo, Willow, went with us; she left a lot of hairs because of the change in temperature. My mom complained about them, but when it was time for Willow to leave with us it was very clear that our pup had grown on both our parents.
We had some awesome Nashville hot chicken that deliciously made me cry at a place called Hattie B’s which was apparently on Food Network a few times. It was amazing, but not as amazing as THE LEGO STORE WHICH NASHVILLE GOT WHILE I WAS AWAY. There was some really bad flooding a number of years ago that hit the city and a huge mall, Opry Mills. The damage was going to cost a ton, but Bass Pro Shops took advantage of the opportunity to become the mall’s new overlord store and expand a bit. They had recently sunk some money into development so there was no way they were going to let the mall die. A few other stores riled up with them and they actually made some great improvements to the mall.
One of them was the LEGO store, where apparently they have a giant wall of bricks where you just fill up a cup with any of the ones you want. They also have this huge ’66 Batman Batcave, which is one of Samantha and my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen the Adam West version, check out this clip. It’s super whimsical and has some great parts, like that one time he couldn’t find a place to dispose of a bomb.
While we had a great time with family eating, playing games, and spending time talking over coffee, eventually we had to come back to Waco. It’s nice to hit the grind again because after essentially a month off I almost didn’t know what to do with myself!
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Vacations are awesome. But knowledge is power!
Classes so far have been great. I’m definitely going to miss Marketing with Dr. Mirabito, but I’m excited to learn some valuable aspects of Strategy with Dr. Norman. In addition, we’re going to get deeper into finances (both general and healthcare specific) as well as Information Systems which is an interesting spin on what we usually think of with business.
With 19 hours, a graduate assistant job, and my resolutions for the new year, it’s going to be a busy one. But I’ll try to keep you posted 🙂
This week, I got a little bit of a break. The non-Healthcare Administration MBA students took a trip to NYC. They went to Wall Street, met with real professionals living in New York, and made me jealous by posting some awesome pictures and sending group me messages to each other as they saw some pretty cool places.
Here they are near some fancy bridge (I’m not familiar with NY landmarks).
Back in Waco, I had a pretty good time taking it easy, catching up on some schoolwork, and taking some time to play a new video game with a good friend back in TN. Honestly, this past week probably should have been one of the worst weeks for me. Some highlights:
My dog basically ate an entire loaf of honey-wheat bread. We thought all was well, but the next day she puked up about 12 globs of bread- which were creatively scattered throughout the apartment in some rather surprising places- peed on the carpet 3 times, and left a nice bit of diarrhea for Samantha and I right in our carpeted hallway. It cost us about 80$ to get everything cleaned up and washed.
I went to the dentist. Normally, this would be bad enough in itself, as I have an irrational phobia of dentists due to a rather lucid root canal I had when I was a teenager; I had been put on so much gas that I ended up getting sick, but not before I believed that I was a computer for a while.
Anyway, at the dentist, I basically figured out that the cap on my root canal that I received a few years back had not been seated correctly, so I will have to have that tooth extracted for good 🙁 There is some other dental work that I need done that will be quite expensive, and between all of the appointments, I’ll be at Aspen Dental around 4 or 5 times in the next few months.
My car was broken into a few nights ago. No windows were broken, but I had left a treasured item that got stolen, as well as a few other things including my free Cameron Park Zoo passes. I hope that they use them to go to the zoo and get attacked by that black bear that is always angrily pacing back and forth. All in all, about $400 of damage. But we are safe and no one was hurt.
None of that stuff really bothered me, though. I think I’m just happy to be alive, honestly. I like that I am at the point in school where I am trying to learn, rather than earn a certain grade. I am hitting a groove with my classmates and making some good friends in the program. I’ve been studying Spanish a good amount, and Sam and I have almost finished turning our spare bedroom into a little theater. On top of all that, Halloween is right around the corner and our little party is almost fully-planned.
Robbins Case Competition
I had the privilege this Thursday and Friday to serve as a student host in the 2nd annual Robbins Institute Case Competition. Eleven CAHME-accredited universities were invited to the Paul L Foster Campus where they received a healthcare case written by experts in the field. It was based on a real world example with which students had to analyze, perform calculations, draw conclusions/recommendations, and then present their findings to a panel of qualified judges.
I was assigned to Trinity University’s team comprised of three hard-working students assigned to the case and one student observer. The students arrived at about 7:30 in the morning and did not leave campus until 11PM, working almost the entire time. As hosts, we escorted them to various meetings and areas for lunch or consultations, so there were a few times to talk about their experiences with the case.
By Friday morning, my group was exhausted and nervous. They had stayed up until 3am working on the case and were eager to present. There were only three winners out of the eleven teams, and while the group that I was assigned to did not win, I was amazed by their dedication, confidence and professionalism. Maybe I will be on Baylor’s case team in the future, maybe not. Either way, I believe that these types of competitions are great ways for students to test their business skills in a variety of ways. As I watched the three finalists present, one thought kept popping into my head…
This giant skull can be found just north of Waco at a charming little place called the Deadzone. Now we haven’t been in Waco long, but if there is one thing that I am going to find when October comes around, it’s a haunted house.
I’d like to preface that up until about 3 or 4 years ago, I never would have stepped into a haunted house. I didn’t like the idea of people popping out at me, and filtered them into the same type of area in my brain that roller coasters go: something lots of people do, but a bit too much for me. Over time, my buddy Julio got older, and invited me to go with a couple of his friends. I was starting to bounce back from a breakup over the summer, and figured it was a good idea to get out more.
Turns out I loved it.
I wasn’t so much scared, but actually in awe. When I was in theater, I thought that the way the set came together to create atmosphere was awesome. One minute, you’d be in the back putting on your costume and talking with other friends in the play; the next, you’d step onto the stage and it would be 1956.
When I began to walk around this haunted house, I got a similar feeling. I would step through the graveyard and watch the dead come alive, alive. ALIVE!!!!
Okay, so part of the fun was that the people in the group we went with were freaked out. When other people are scared, it makes it that much more fun. Even if they know who is about to scare them, where they are, and that they are just a human in a mask, they still jump.
My wife is one of these people. Naturally, this means that my wife has to go with me to a haunted house at least once a year.
Last year, here were some highlights:
My wife bought a 2$ “no touch” bracelet that glows so that the actors know not to touch you. Turns out they couldn’t touch us anyway, but now Sam had an armband that glowed super bright and advertised to every actor in the haunted house that she was so scared that she spent money not to be scared.
A 30′ long dark, tight tunnel. My wife has a fear of suffocation.
A man with a chainsaw who chased us out of the woods.
My wife being so done with the haunted house, holding her no touch bracelet up with a closed fist, and yelling “NO.” threateningly to the point of making the undead nurse break character.
100 Sam screams
This year’s house was much better. Some features:
Another 30′ dark, tight tunnel. This time it was halfway through and 10 scares later. She ran through this one so fast that it took be a good 10 seconds to catch up with her afterwards.
Another chainsaw man.
A glow in the dark, nightclub cowboy flinging who really blended in with the walls
About 300 Sam screams
But the best part by far was this guy dressed as the antagonist from the movie Scream.
I have some mad respect for this actor. I am 90% sure that he abandoned his main post to scare my wife (I counted) at least 13 separate times. No, it was not different actors. This guy just really had everything down to an art. He would pop out, kind of block the way and let anxiety set in for Sam, and then sneak back into the darkness, only to immediately pop out and scare her again.
After about 4 of these, he would disappear and relocate up ahead. There was even a part where Sam and I got so confused that we accidentally started going into one of the secret passages for the actors, and Scream said through gritted, fourth-wall breaking teeth, “No.. This way.” I laughed so hard.
Anyway. It’s not the most high tech haunted house that I’ve ever been to, but it was probably the most fun and the biggest laugh I have had in months. I love my wife humoring me and taking part in one of my interests. Lucky for her, it looks like she’s off the hook for another year!
There are only a few holidays that people really like. I’ve never heard of someone saying, “Oh man I’m so excited for labor day. It’s always the best!” More likely, people say something like New Years, Easter, or Thanksgiving.
A lot of people get excited about Christmas. You get to see family, give gifts, and eat some amazing food. That’s not to say that I don’t like Christmas; I do. I love going back to TN and seeing my family, but it’s not my favorite holiday.
I’m all about Halloween.
When I was a kid, there was this house in my neighborhood that always went all out. Trick-or-treaters could hear this house a few streets away. It belonged to the parents of my 3rd grade girlfriend (the pressure of learning my multiplications tables would end our relationship; I would remain single for another 9 years), and it was terrifying to go through when I was little.
They went all out. They had fog machines, music, some of the coolest masks, and this dude that had a chainsaw (without the chain, of course). Every kid in my neighborhood talked about that house, and people would even drive to it to have a look or let their kids stop by. My parents always let me set up our house, so I would put some webs out, a little boombox with spooky sounds, and some small props. At some point, I realized that I wanted to be that house in the neighborhood. So I told myself that once I had my own place and a paycheck, I would start my own collection.
I got married last year, and when October rolled around I did just that. I have spent more than I should have on decorations. In August, I saw a post on one of my friend’s Facebook pages (he’s a professional clown) at Big Lots with a skeleton dog. After that, me and Samantha set up the Spooky Budget; sadly, I already reached the limit, even though it’s not even October!
I’ll put up pictures of our decorations for the year later after we have decorated 🙂
Anywho. It’s nice to have something not school or career-related on the side with a sense of progression to it. I’m still studying Spanish, but Halloween is something that’s just for fun. My hope is to throw a party, but I’m gonna need John Pham’s help, because I’m not really a party type. My ideal party is a small group with some games, but I want more than just 4 or 5 people to have some spooky fun!
On the academic side of things, it’s somehow already been 5 weeks, so QBA and Accounting are about to be switched out for Finance and Economics. After taking Business Foundations, this first round has felt strangely easy. I’m a bit anxious for the second part (and honestly second semester is going to be brutal).
First off, I want to thank everyone who voted for me. This week I was chosen as Core 1 Representative for GBA. I’m honored to be chosen for this position, and look forward to serving my peers and being their voice.
Secondly, there is a lot that I do not know. Coming into the program, I was refreshed by the nature of business classes and their associated discussions. Compared to Organic Chemistry, business is very different. Rather than trying to comprehend obscure concepts and phenomena, it’s more a game of experience and breadth of knowledge. When presented with a problem, more often than not there is always something that you can say. Whether or not it is applicable is another story. It might be unrelated, or it could jog the mind of another team member. It could be relevant to the industry, but not to a specific business’s situation. We could individually have a really good solution, or collectively have a better one. It feels like there is so much more freedom of choice and variety when compared to practicing medicine. For me, there’s real appeal in being able to come up a plan and actually implement what I think is best rather than being stuck in a structured box.
That’s not to say there aren’t some doctors that have variety. They definitely do from time to time (that’s why I was originally going to shoot for internal medicine: infectious disease specialty), but most of your interaction is what doctors would refer to as “bread and butter” cases.
Today, Justin Rock came to talk to us from Valley Baptist. He was going over all of the changes in healthcare that are going to happen come January 2017. The CMS and all they are trying to do in the way of moving from fee to service to value based care, as well as bringing the patient closer to the doctors. There are so many interesting and complicated new rules and incentives/grants, assessing healthcare on a wide spectrum of capabilities; I feel both excited and overwhelmed. Like Glenn Robinson, the CEO of Hillcrest said today, there will always be something for me to learn in healthcare. You simply cannot learn it all because there is so much to it, and it is constantly changing. And I love that.
Personally, I’ve had a long standing beef with insurance companies as a concept. They keep popping up in our discussions, and it really seems like they just complicate the entire system and put a wedge between patients and doctors. Originally, I believe they were necessary for catastrophic reasons, but in recent years they have just become so greedy and too influential, in my opinion. Mr. Robinson commented on this power that insurance companies have today over policy, calling them (and other similar agents) the fourth branch of government. He’s right. With Aetna pulling out of the ACA in all but about 5 states, Mylan getting heat for raising costs on their EpiPen 550% in eight years, and that Martin guy with the Toxoplasmosis HIV drug that he hiked the prices up about 9,000%, these industries need to be put in check. I ask myself when thinking about what is best for the future of medicine (and the human race, to some extent), do insurance industries actually care about the patient? What have they done in the past decade, that could not have been done without them? Unfortunately, they feel like the cartel of healthcare. They are so rooted with lobbyists, policy, and there is the scare of unemployment of an entire industry; to uproot and transition the current insurance system into a more meaningful aspect of healthcare would/will take incredible minds, hard decisions, and constant determination.
There’s my rant. The point is that I am thrilled by the challenges presented in healthcare. I am very passionate about this industry; the sheer potential for good that healthcare has is something that I take seriously. I will take pride in healthcare success, and take its failures seriously. These are real, human lives we deal with every day. For many individuals, our doors are their last resort. Our hospitals can and should be a place of hope, integrity, respect, and sincere care.
Yes, healthcare is a business to some extent. But it is a business unlike any other.
Happy Labor Day! I hope you have enjoyed a day without labor.
2 Weeks Into the Program: Time Management Is Crucial
I’ve been in the official MBA program for 2 weeks now, so I’d say that I have a good bit under my belt to share about. It’s been great so far. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s been easy (it hasn’t), but I have to say that Business Foundations prepared me very well. Having to be constantly on top of your toes each day with the reading and chapter homework for three accelerated, daily classes was a good preview for the six classes I’m currently taking.
I feel like it took me a couple of years into undergrad to really “get serious.” My grades were good, but I didn’t always read the text. In fact, for a lot of my generals, I realize now that I was mostly just thinking about getting a good grade. When I arrived at BYU, my classes were more challenging, and I realized I needed to stick to my plan more firmly to make it into medical school. My junior and senior years, I spent a lot more time reading and practicing, ensuring that I was really learning the material; if I didn’t, it would come back to bite me one day.
These study habits are essential in grad school, because come spring time I’ll be heading out on a residency. The more I learn, the better I can grow and serve communities with innovative solutions. The biggest realization I am making in grad school is just how important time management really is. I’m at the point in my career where learning information is something I’m confident in, as long as I devote enough time to it. Concepts don’t trip me up, and cases aren’t really hard to understand. However, in order to learn from them and apply these concepts, I need to devote adequate time, and that’s where the difficulty lies.
I enjoy each of my classes for different reasons. My favorites at this point in time is probably marketing; I didn’t ever take a marketing class, and understanding what drives people to make choices always has interested me. QBA, Management Communication, and of course Col Garner’s storytelling in HPA are of note as well. I’m impressed not only by the experience that my professors hold, but the passion that they bring to the subjects. The best classes I have had were not because of the subject matter but rather the way it was presented by the professor, and these professors are doing great so far.
Side note: If you’re wondering why there aren’t as many drawings on the blog, see above! I’m
significantly busier than summer. All in all, it feels like I manage it well. I spend time with wife, occasionally study Spanish (but listen to it daily), care for my dog every morning, get all of my work done, and work for my GAs. I don’t get as much in in the way of fitness as I would like, but there’s a bit more going on day to day than just up there!
I’ve also squeezed some time in to shop for Halloween decorations and such, or as Sam and I
have been calling them: Spooky Dates. We have quite the collection building. Some really cool decorations for our first ever Halloween Party, and the first party I have ever thrown. Also, this dog decoration is absolutely ridiculous, and I love it. NO LONGER MAN’S BEST FRIEND.
First Football Game
First off, I want to just express how grateful I am to have Bill and Mary Jo Robbins. They are so incredibly kind, and without them I would not be here. Thanks to them, I had the opportunity to meet executives from Hillcrest and Providence hospitals at McLane stadium during my first college football game. It is such an honor to, as a graduate student, experience such a humbling time with sharp executives of great hospitals. Bill and Mary Jo continue to offer truly invaluable opportunities that I wouldn’t have dreamed of even a year ago.
I’m sure that I talked Mr. Turner and Mr. Province’s heads off! Anyone in the program will be able to tell you that I am a man of many questions. I really do love learning, and I’m not afraid to step out of the box a bit and ask slightly bold questions from time to time. It was great having that one-on-one time with two individuals in positions that I one day hope to hold myself. Also, it’s refreshing to be able to have my wife close by in an MBA event. I love Samantha very much, and I’m glad that I was able to take some time during the game to sit with her and just take in the moment.
We also ate some amazing food later that day, and I made constant Forrest Gump references while we were eating some shrimp.
(*Disclaimer on language in the clip below. Drill sergeants can be a bit lewd.)
All in all, I cannot express how awesome this program has been for me. I remember the night before Done In a Day, when I was sitting in my car looking at the Paul L. Foster Campus so that I knew where to go the next morning. I thought to myself that it would be so crazy if I got into this program, how proud I’d be, etc. And here I am 🙂
I went home for about 4 days to see my family. We grilled out, got ice cream together, and I made a special appearance at my niece’s birthday party as the caped crusader himself. Her birthday party was superhero themed, and she absolutely loves batman.
She accidentally saw me eating a sandwich with my mask off, which was embarrassing. But rather than come to the conclusion that Batman isn’t real, she instead surmised that her uncle Justice is actually a superhero, which is totally okay with me.
I love my family a lot, but it is also good to be busy again. Samantha wasn’t able to come back to TN with me, and both my parents were working Thursday and Friday, so it was a little lonely for a bit. Now I am back with my trouble-loving dog and my beautiful wife. My planner is full, and I am back into the balancing act that is graduate school. Not much to say yet, other than the first day of classes being really great. You can tell that these professors have a passion for what they are teaching, and I hope that they continue to create thought-provoking projects like what I saw here on the first day.
We’ll talk about that later, I’m sure. It’s only been one day, after all. Orientation was a blast, and that’s the main thing I wanted to talk about here.
After an eerily quiet Uber ride with a mustached driver known to me only as Robert, me and my squeaky tennis shoes made our way into the Foster building and chose the first seat we could find. There was a lot of really helpful material in room 102 during orientation week. What immediately comes to mind is the career development seminar. We took a long test the night before on CareerLeader, which told us about our strengths, motivations, and optimal work culture. Most parts of the results were spot-on. The same can be said of the Myers Briggs test we took. However, I consider myself pretty good at being self-critical. While I might not like to admit it, there are times where I can be arrogant, judgmental, or overly focused on finding the right answers even to the point of insensitivity. Everyone has their own weaknesses, but little reminders like these tests help us to keep them in check when we forget.
This was my Myers Briggs result, ENTJ. “The commander.” May I just say, that having used 16personalities.com before, it seems like the authors hate this type a little? x) I used to be an INFJ, and they loved that one. But there’s a few lines out at the beginning that are just a bit salty:
“Perhaps it is best that they make up only three percent of the population, lest they overwhelm the more timid and sensitive personality types that make up much of the rest of the world…”
“The underlying thought running through the ENTJ mind might be something like “I don’t care if you call me an insensitive b*****d, as long as I remain an efficient b*****d”.”
“Cold and Ruthless”
Thankfully, my N category teeters right on the edge from Intuition into Sensing, and the ESTJ group, “The Executive,” seems really chill. Although I am happy to be in this category 🙂 I feel like I personally manage my weaknesses well, and knowing them is half the battle.
My favorite part of Orientation was the last day of course. We were Gold Team.
“Gold Team Rules!”
Anyway. We sang the Lion King song during our opening ceremonies, and actually won that category. Initially we thought that we would lose for sure. We didn’t have an inflatable whale, speakers with music, or special outfits. But we did have heart. And the powerful emotional control that the Disney Corporation’s songs have on audiences. Also Artur was there and he spoke French, which is technically the language of love, so…
We did a lot of teambuilding that really helped me get to know the people who didn’t do business foundations. I made some good friends, and we had a lot of laughs.
Also, shout out to Seth and Brendan for climbing that super tall tower and jumping to a literal trapeze. I am a giant baby and did not want to do that.
This Tuesday we took our first finance test. I have mixed feelings about the exam. On the one hand, I felt prepared going into the test; I did all of the homework, kept up well with the material in class, read the textbook, and reviewed relevant topics. On the other hand, hindsight is 20/20. There were a couple topics I should have given a thorough review of, yet I prioritized other information.
Timing was my biggest issue on the test. This seemed to be the case for the rest of the class as well. Graduate students tend to panic over exam performance, so there was a bit of an informal post-test stress gathering in the common area on the 4th floor. By the time I got to the free response, where I knew a great deal of material, I had such a small proportion of class remaining that it probably affected my answers.
I guess my greatest reservation was that I felt I had not been tested relative to the time spent on each topic. One particular topic that we had not reviewed in class took up at least 3 of 19 multiple choice questions, whereas a heavily calculation-based concept that we spent over a week on was minimally represented.
All in all, it reminded me of an Organic Chemistry test or certain parts of the MCAT. While my performance was personally disappointing, there are still 2 exams to go and my grade ended up a B once the rankings for the class were grouped. So not bad : )
Back when I was premed, there was this tendency for students to self-rank. We were applying to similar programs, taking all of the same classes and professors, and much of our work was competitive in nature. It was pretty stressful. You would get together for group work in Biochemistry, where a professor only allowed the top 12% of students to receive an A in a class of around 150 students, and someone would eventually cave and start asking how we all felt about that last exam. It would get uncomfortable, or even award some relief, when we confessed our grades to one another. Sometimes it made relationships better, sometimes worse.
In this program, I don’t get that vibe. My success does not detract from the success of another student. So far none of these professors seek to weed me out, or foster distrust among us (other than maybe some of those econ exercises where we essentially get to steal from one another in a virtual market, but I like those). Rather than being on two sides of tug of war, I feel like there is only one side. We’re all pulling this big weight, suffering through material together and helping each other learn. Sometimes we’re the student in the front, sometimes we’re the student in the back.
Ultimately, the struggle is internal. Many of us, myself included, desire to overachieve. It can make us hard on ourselves, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, stress is a defense mechanism after all. We just have to remember that we are not pitted against each other anymore, just against ourselves. To me, the students in this program are not my competition, they are my resources to learn and grow (and some of them are kind of like my family).