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Archive for November, 2010

Tis nearly December, so all of our final paper, project, and exam deadlines are coming up fast.  I’ve heard for a couple of years about the ramp-up to the end of term in Public Finance, which goes like this: in very rapid succession, we take our midterm, do a budget simulation project, and complete our final exam.  Let me put it this way: it’s a lot of work at the end of term rather than distributed throughout.  Just a heads up for possibly interested parties!

Tonight, I was geeking out over computing net present value.  My first-year self from the fall of 2008 would be staring incredulous at that statement.  I feel like a finance NINJA, people.

Tomorrow, I’m continuing The Search for My PDR Client.  This little matter, of finding an organization interested in hiring me as an unpaid consultant to complete a policy project on their behalf, is actually the first step towards completing my final project, or Professional Decision Report, which makes up a good part of my upcoming spring semester.  Once I’ve secured a client, I want to discuss that process, because for Urban students this is the other, capstone end of the trajectory which begins all the way back in policy analysis.  (Management students and GPIA students have their own equivalents; think “long paper/deliverable of publishable/client-based quality” and you have the idea).

Guess what this week’s Random Song/Film Quote references?

Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah!

Kristen

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Greetings, bleaders!

Yesterday I registered for my final semester at GPIA/Milano, and this feels like it is late arriving yet showed up VERY quickly.  My reference to the “late arriving” is obvious; the “faster” is owing to the blink-and-you-will-miss-me nature of my last year.  Honestly, it feels like it should only be early October right about now, and well, that ship has sailed.

This semester, public finance has been keeping me busy but is noteworthy for me in two respects: first, I’m quite interested in the subject material, though I had not previously considered myself a tax-policy aficionado, and second, it is the most time-consuming course on my current schedule.  This is as I expected; the course is also infamous for concluding with two simultaneous big projects (a budget simulation exercise and a take-home final), so I anticipate much hustle and bustle around completing those.  In the budget simulation project, our task is to manipulate a hypothetical state budget and make our case as to our proposed appropriations.  Now, in case I haven’t made this clear over the past couple of years, many of us considering ourselves some sort of policy wonks tend to enjoy enacting fantasies in which we are In Charge of all sorts of [money, people, policies] so it should not be surprising to hear that this assignment is actually considered fun in some quarters.  I’ll let you know, although I think I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of the ones geeking out happily over this when the time comes.

In my Poverty and Social Policy course, we are now taking turns giving detailed group presentations to our classmates on the myriad of issues with which one must grapple if trying to think well about tackling poverty in the United States.  I’ve honestly spent much of my academic career (yes, even in Women’s Studies and literature) thinking about class and poverty, so in some ways this entire course has served as a poignant near-capstone–certainly thematically–of one set of issues always important and confounding to me.  In my case, doing the group presentation also gave me bittersweet memories of teaching which I thoroughly loved doing; while I’ve put a hold on determining exactly how, I really do intend on getting back in front of a classroom in the future.   I miss doing the fast-paced group-management and intellectual thinking you have to in order to teach well; contrary to some perception, if you start teaching at ANY level thinking you’re going to, at long last, enjoy dictatorial control and earn the unblinking worship of a bunch of fabulous sycophants, well, um, NO.  Trust me, you’re better off grappling with a faux budget.

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