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Archive for November, 2011

I’m sitting in the New School Study Center, which is currently occupied by the Occupy Wall Street movement. The building was taken last Thursday and has since become a home base for the All-City Student General Assembly.

It’s quite an interesting scene. I wonder how many people here are New School students vs. students from other universities vs. non-students. I’d love to give all of the details of what I see right now but I’m not sure if that would violate some some of social compact that is going on here. Journalists are not being allowed upstairs and I by no means am no journalist, but I’m sure there’s a reason for the limited info. No video or photo are allowed either. I’m sure someone else is blogging all the details, I haven’t been reading any blogs covering #ows. Really I’m just a grad student that wants to know what’s going on with my study space.

Thus, I have some mixed feelings about this whole situation. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly support the movement in its calling out of gross inequality and the unjust economic system that we have that values profits over people. The Occupy Wall Street movement has taken the national political debate from budget cuts to issues of inequality.

At the same time, the study center is relatively new, and I’m a paying student. I get upset when I see people leave crumbs on the tables in the study rooms, much less people turning this into a full-time base of operations. I must admit that it’s a lot cleaner up here than I expected to find it. That being said, the walls seem to be nothing more than a giant canvas. I’m not happy about that because that’s just disrespectful. Taping posters is one thing, painting is another, and just scrawling phrases is something else entirely. I wonder who will have to clean up when this is all done.

Part of me thinks some of the wall writing should be left for posterity. After all, this is the New School, isn’t it?

There is something that I don’t get about this current occupation: the point. It seems that there are different people with different agendas united by a general dissatisfaction with the way things are. Some of the arguments seem a bit misguided. I would love lower tuition (one of the calls here), but there the economics of running an institution. I suspect there is an alternative plan for funding universities, but saying “don’t pay tuition” is not a solid plan in my view.

I recognize that some of my thoughts are not in line with some of my fellow class mates, and that’s okay. We’re all better off with a diversity of view points.

As for me, I need to go #occupy this case study for elements of finance.

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Well kids, we’re at that point in the semester.

Y’know.

That point.

The point where you are in the mick and muck of it all and trying to push forward to see daylight with no cracks in sight.

The point where you say “oh crap” because you realize the semester is closing soon, and while that should be a good thing, you also realize that those term papers are coming due as well.

The point where it seems like due dates are stacked like Jenga and you’re trying to keep the puzzle together without having the whole thing fall apart.

Yes folks, we’re at that point.

Prayers are appreciated.

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Flicker…flicker flicker. Blink.

That’s me. I don’t know if it’s a rough spot in the semester or what, but I feel like I’m burning out. This finance class (elements of finance) has really gotten to me and I want to just throw my hands up and say “I’m done.” Work is very interesting and part-time, but just because I’m not on the clock doesn’t mean there isn’ t stuff that needs to get done. Throw the TA gig on top of that, my other courses, Toastmasters, and oh yeah, my personal life. Let’s sprinkle in the search for a PDR client and the ever-encroaching employment search and we’ve got ourselves a full pot of stew!

Of course, this is the situation that I’ve chosen. I realize that. No one made me take a job, apply to be a TA, take the courses I’m taking, or go to grad school at all. Seems weird to vent/complain/stress about a situation of my own choosing. But then again most of our situations in life are of our own choosing. That’s a larger conversation so we’ll leave that point for another time. But back to grad school blues…

I think that being in the third semester of a four-semester (full-time) program probably brings a certain stress, and next semester I’m sure will bring a whole other set of stress. I just registered for spring classes today so that probably adds to the mix. As I move through this semester I’ve begun to reflect on my academic experience. It’s probably somewhat premature to do a postmortem since I’m not even 75% through the program, but at this point my classes are decided for the most part. There’s no more “ooh maybe I’ll take that class.” And since my classes are pretty set at this point, it’s easy to begin thinking about what kind of skills I’m going to graduate with. Also, for the PDR, we’re supposed to use the skills we’ve gained at Milano to produce this professional report.

At this point I’m not sure I’ve taken the right courses. I mean I’ve taken the courses that meet graduation requirments, that’s not the issue. My question is whether my course work reflects my true desires of what I want to do with my life. The reality is that choosing classes to set up your career can be much more difficult than one might think. Everyone comes to grad school with certain dreams and desires. As you gain experience and skills your original dreams and desires might change, but you don’t get more electives to balance it out. Then you start thinking about classes that you took (or are taking currently) that maybe you weren’t/aren’t really into and you question it. Then the program might offer some brand new elective that wasn’t available when you came in, and you have to figure out if you can use your precious remaining credits on it – and if it meets your interests better than the course track you’ve already planned out during previous semesters. Just to spice it up, there may be a tension between getting tools (hard skills courses like finance) to courses that are just interesting but don’t necessarily provide you with a marketable skill (other than reading and writing). So in a way the academic experience is a negotiation between past, present, and future selves.

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I applied for the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program. It’s a two-year fellowship that can launch a career in government service. I found out earlier this week that I didn’t make the cut.

Am I disappointed? Yeah. Devastated? Nah.

It’s a highly competitive program and only a small percentage of people make it in. A number of us from Milano (around 18 I think) applied and so far I only know of two people that made it to the next round. We’ve all been checking in with each other, consoling each other, and congratulating those who made it.

I think around 9000 people applied and only 1200 made it on to the next round. That’s about a 13% acceptance rate.

Thanks for the PMF Info blog for being a great resource for information and support.

As others have stated, we’re all grad school students, which is a rare opportunity that most people don’t get to experience. We’re very blessed, PMF or no PMF.

And who knows, maybe this is better for us, maybe this whole PMF experience is just a stepping stone.

There are some very talented and dynamic people who didn’t make it. I’m proud to call them my classmates. Milano rolls deep. Milano goes hard. And this won’t stop us from changing the world for the better.

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