It’s a steady push to the end folks. I’m clawin’, scratchin’ and most of all prayin’ to get to the end of this semester, which officially ends tomorrow night. I still have some big assignments on the table, and challenge is daunting. After going all semester it’s important to have enough gas at the end to power through the finish line.
Posts Tagged ‘finals’
I’ve been meaning to pen a post about how real in the field it is right now but…well…it’s real in the field! (For those who don’t get the hip-hop lexicon, I’m saying that things are very hectic right now)
I’m a TA for Trial Round of Policy Analysis and the groups presented this week. I’m so proud of both of my groups. They worked very hard and really dug into their issues. I’m blessed to be a TA and I’m grateful for this experience.
That being said, I have my own presentations and papers to get done. The clock is ticking on the final days of the semester and I’m not trying to take a knee or punt.
I suppose it is fitting that the last two weeks of a crazily busy semester would be crazily busy. Knowing that ahead of time did not necessarily help matters.
Public Finance is one of the core requirements for Urban Policy students, and for two years now I have watched friends and colleagues grapple with the end of that course and seem to become exhausted yet positively GIDDY with excitement over one of our projects, wherein we are tasked with balancing a hypothetical state budget. This year was my turn in this marathon. I did that budget project, and then my planner started vomiting lists of deliverables and I have not really looked up much since.
You see, the same week that budget project was submitted, we submit our final exam for Public Finance and then we have one other small deliverable before we’re finished. So suffice it to say that one becomes rather IMMERSED in public finance during this weird end-of-semester bubble. Throw in preparing my take-home final for Poverty and Social Policy and a final paper for Sustainability Perspectives and Practices, continuing work for my fellowship, and the ongoing Quest for a PDR Client, and I am sure you can understand, dear readers, why I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that I finished my work for this semester on Friday. It was not a dream; I really can file my course materials, clean my apartment, and, oh yes, I believe we may have some little things called THE HOLIDAYS to enjoy now. Blimey. So basically, I’ll still not get any rest to speak of until we’re into January.
My Poverty and Social Policy final afforded me the opportunity to actually think about how personal aspects of people’s lives–such as family structure–could possibly be considered in policy terms, given my own feminist, progressive politics. I did find engaging that issue to be a particularly interesting touchstone in reflecting on my own politics and self.
While I may hopefully have great news on the PDR client front shortly, I’m holding off on writing about that process until I do (for hopefully understandable reasons). I feel like this process of finding our own clients for our final projects can be a bit intimidating, and one of our tasks here is to demystify as much of this process as possible. So, as soon as I can, I’ll address that. This spring semester I’ll also be blogging about the process of actually DOING a Professional Decision Report (PDR) as well as other experiences probably all falling under the rubric of “senioritis”.
I’m really ready to be done. Really. I set up my fall semester to bear the brunt of certain scheduling items so that this spring term will be less hectic. What a relief. That may have been the most clever move I have made in graduate school. Really. When you’re really ready to be done, actually having a few minutes here and there to help maintain your sanity during that last push is truly invaluable.
Have a wonderful New Year!
Laura and Tushar! They are off somewhere celebrating right now, as they should be, and I am just posting to cap off this year. I know the anxiety over our whereabouts since my last cryptic, exhausted missive has been keeping some of you bleaders up nights. I know. We’ve been a little busy. Laura and Tushar graduated, and I had a marathon of my own last week as I went from a Quant final to wrapping loose ends to volunteering at their recognition ceremony, watching all of these fabulous beautiful people walk by and fantasizing about joining their ranks as an alum as soon as possible.
Quant went well, I am proud to say, but I will now also go “on the record” with this conclusion: I really wasn’t missing out on a great unfulfilled academic passion all those years when I did not delve into stats. Some of us are meant to work in words (or music, or law, or medicine, or motion), and while I am very good with numbers, I don’t find them nearly as fascinating. It is very important, however, to understand the statistical backdrop to your policy work, so these are great skills to have. As for my Media Advocacy and Social Marketing course: I worked on another interesting client project, and have had quite a few prompts for thinking about my upcoming professional and academic work. It’s likely no surprise that a blogger would enjoy thinking about messaging and issues concurrently–and I do.
Last week at the recognition ceremony I occasionally spotted someone and thought, “I remember speaking with them, when was it, hmm, oh, wait, it was at ORIENTATION two years ago.” Very strange. Being part time in the policy program has led me down a slightly different path than that of many of my colleagues, but I am very grateful to have worked with and enjoyed their company. I am also looking forward to–there just isn’t a good enough way to put this–walking myself across that stage next May. To that end, since I have been around Milano for these past two years I need a bit of a break too, and so this summer I will not be taking courses, but spending time working on my own writing, starting to investigate what I’m planning for my own PDR (final master’s project; we’ll discuss) next year, and reflecting on how the changes and growth of a very challenging and important year will impact What Happens Next professionally. Reframing those goals is exciting, but nerve-wracking. Since it’s summer, despite unemployment and student-dom, I’ll be having fun too. I need to recharge my batteries, for the sake of that PDR, this blog, and my real desire to write some other kinds of material.
It’s been a difficult May for another reason: I know many of us at Milano and elsewhere are alternately furious, concerned, saddened, and wanting to do something about the ongoing ramifications of the oil spill in the Gulf. I’m as stymied as anyone, and frustrated as this is the kind of situation testing the very concept of a belief in our capacity to make a difference. However, I hope I am not wrong in seeing, I think, a certain horrible recognition in some new quarters that our (in my opinion) dysfunctional dependence on oil has to end. In my more cynical moments I think it had to take such a tragedy to shake some out of indifference. In my more hopeful ones, I think that I may have already met some people who are committed to help us find a better way to live without further destroying the planet, and our ranks are growing. There is too much more to say about this–but ignoring it while writing from within our program (so to speak) would not be appropriate.
While I may pop in from time to time, as will Eulalia and our newly minted alumni, I just want to wish many of you congratulations, best wishes, my thanks for reading, and to others, welcome aboard! We have plenty of archives for you to peruse–enjoy!
ONE MORE WEEK.
We’re gearing up to complete our final exams, turn in the PDR’s, and cheer for some of you terribly lucky, hard-working and deserving people as you graduate. Quite a hectic couple of weeks, no?
To that end, I hope that everyone stays as calm as possible as we near the Big Finish. I will not be taking a course this summer, and as the job hunt continues, I will also be working on some creative writing projects that have been put on the back burner for far too long. I can’t afford to travel, sadly, so I’ll leave it to some of you to do so and report back.
Good luck–and I’ll be back soon as we wish two of our bloggers a fond farewell.
Happy New Year, ya’ll!
It’s about quality, not quantity, right? Of course! So my lack of posting this term will be forgiven once you hear all about my fabulous end-of-fall-semester adventures. I’ve been trying to concoct some for you, but it’s been a little slow around here.
In all seriousness, when I last updated I was about to begin assisting students in Policy Analysis during their Trial Round which sets up the Lab course in the spring. Frankly, and YES, I am SO AWARE of how pretentious this makes me sound, I could not figure out how to write about what MY experience was like doing that without writing about other students in a way that would not feel comfortable. Ultimately, I had two groups who were hard working, capable, and whose members will be very successful next spring; however, I really found, to my surprise, that I was having some strong reactions of my own to the whole process. Reflecting about that during the fall was a private process yielding further revelations about me and policy school that I’ve had all year.
In a nutshell: I looked at the process (pedagogical and methodological) we use in Lab/Trial Round with the benefit of plenty of sleep and more experience and threw my hands up, thinking, WHAT?!? WHY?!?!? Also in a nutshell: around here, I really do sometimes feel for a variety of reasons as though I’m a square peg in the round hole of policy school. This may be temporary; spring is going to be VERY interesting, I think.
Before I’m asked to present myself to various people throughout Milano to explain myself (I would if you asked, though) I think that my very old, and probably very typical, intellectual tendency of looking at a process, (trying to) master the process, and subsequently asking how I can deconstruct the process has kicked in. Since I’m not in charge of anything or teaching any courses right now, that’s fine, and it also does not mitigate my ability to use the analytic methods we’ve learned thus far.
The other thing I realized was how much I had really enjoyed working with each person in my first Lab round, grateful that four other people could be such engaged, funny, and smart colleagues. It turns out that when I’m thinking back to that part of Lab and ruminating on how much I enjoyed it, much of the reason why is totally personal. So if you’re about to participate in Lab next spring, I truly hope you have at least one experience like mine was.
In fact, one of those 1st round folks (my Milano BFF) is graduating in January, having written an awesome PDR/thesis, and I am GREEN with envy since her graduation marks my halfway point towards earning my own M.S. here. At the moment the next year and a half feels very long.
My other fall course, Green Jobs, occasioned me to write a monster paper at term’s end, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also prompted me to include a major section concerning the importance of “marketing” policy, of branding and communications, in all of these plans to achieve social change. Coupling that train of thought with the substance of my first Lab project from last spring, which included thinking about branding and public relations, I am even more eager to begin one of my courses this spring which will be about media and social advocacy. Since I am so interested in incorporating creative work and/or writing into whatever my ultimate career will be, what feels like an actual narrative of my work at Milano is possibly beginning to emerge. What I’ll be doing with that remains to be seen.
During this break, however, I’m trying to rest and rejuvenate before what is already promising to be a year filled with many transitions—and, hopefully, possibilities. Let the countdown begin for Laura and Tushar–they will be graduating this May! This blog may also be incorporating some new, exciting changes over the next little while too. And since I’m feeling much more like writing these days, and have a spring term which should be conducive to doing so, I will be present much more often here. As always, thanks for reading!
I really am still here. I swear. My blogging absence has been dutifully noted and will be addressed tonight. Right after a 15 minute power nap…zzzzz……. Ok, just kidding. But I really have had to resort to power naps lately at a rate not seen since the days of my last semester of undergraduate. Warning: The faint of heart should not enroll in 19 credit hours, work 10 hours at an internship (unpaid!), work 30+ hours at a PT job, be involved in school activities and attempt to finish a senior thesis all at the same time. But somehow I survived that, and I intend to survive my first semester here in grad school at Milano. (Plus I suppose it all worked well for me since I earned an A+ on my senior thesis and was hired from my internship into full-time staff after graduation.)
It’s not as if my schedule is really even that full right now, compared to the above or compared to many students who work full-time while attending school full-time, have children and families or are attempting to juggle classes with teaching assistantships. But compared to my first few months here, I’m exhausted, and for the most part, happy about it.
For all students this time of year is stressful and busy. Finals- enough said. Which may be why I am now questioning the reason I began interning at a nonprofit consulting firm last week, instead of simply starting in the beginning of Spring semester. For all practical purposes, I know why it worked out this way: I was interested in the firm and was eager to jump into the projects, they asked me to start at this time, etc. etc… But working on top of the many group projects Milano throws at us, plus tending to my numerous final semester-long papers has been a handful.
What I remembered after these past few weeks though, is that I work best like this. Procrastination tends to creep up when I have too much free time tempting me to watch movies and do fun art projects instead of study. With less free time, I know that I only have X amount of hours to do Y paper. No ifs and or buts about it, I have to do it NOW. It gets finished and I am more focused! I wouldn’t say that everything benefits from this focused time management (just ask my family who I never call, my boyfriend who I never see despite the fact that we live together in a tiny apartment, my gym membership, my laundry or my dishes…) but right now, the most important tasks are getting the attention they deserve, and I’m happy to do it.
It’s not as if any of this is groundbreaking or news to any graduate student, but for some reason it took me a few months to remember. Now my goal is to NOT forget it in January when May finals seem soooo far away…