Kid’s story: New Priorities

Timeline: Tuesday morning

I see: snow

I hear: Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F

I smell: good 🙂

I feel: like I have a lot of time available today

School was canceled today due to the snow storm, but I assume plenty has been or will be posted about it, so I won’t dwell on that. We are on a level 2 storm watch, which means “drive only if strictly necessary”, and which I understand as “be smart and just stay home”.

I haven’t posted of late since my priorities have somewhat shifted for this quarter. During autumn, my top priority was definitely keeping up with the topics that were taught and to have enough free time to do extracurricular stuff outdoors (by outdoors I simply mean elsewhere other than my house; a bar counts as outdoors for me). During winter, those two things have been stuck in the very bottom of the pile, giving way to my internship search and some research of my own. I have eliminated my outdoor activities almost completely given three facts:

  • Most of my outdoor activities take place at night and they imply that I don’t drive, but I really don’t want to spend money on cabs. Also, I’ve been a little bit out of the loop for carpooling or sharing a cab for some reason.
  • I’m getting old, definitely. I used to be able to be outdoors Wednesday evening to Sunday morning nonstop; now I generally feel too tired to actually go outside.
  • The weather is not too welcoming either, and going out implies big jacket, scarf, gloves, sweater, and so on; which become bulky at a bar or club.

So I’ve searched for a summer internship. The main problem is that I’m an international student and it’s legal for companies to discriminate based on employment eligibility. Now, you might know that we don’t need visa sponsorship for an internship, but since companies offer internships hoping to transform them into full-time employment offers, they will simply shut us out without even looking at our curricula vitae. As I said, this is perfectly legal, unlike other forms of discrimination. Naturally, the Office of Career Management can do (and actually does) little more than say “keep your hopes up”.

Of course, you may look for an internship with the government, which I have, but they will not pay the internships. It would seem that an MBA is thought of as something that pays the rent and food and costs nothing in itself, but that’s definitely not my case, so those are not viable options.

Despite all this, there are several promising opportunities, and I must say that dedicating time and effort to it has been at least partially rewarding. As of right now, I have received no offers, but the outlook seems less bleak every day.

In other news, I have an engineering project going on this quarter, which I’m very pleased with despite all the complaints from our faculty adviser about how we have no idea what we’re doing. Also, I start teaching again next Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it. I will try to go back to my weekly posting routine during Lent, which starts tomorrow.

Below are some pictures of what it looks like outside today. I made them really small so that this thing didn’t cut them off but they’re still getting cut off. Oh, well. Enjoy.

“Did you miss me? Be honest!”  – the Genie.

This week’s top five

  1. Activity: taking my baby to the doctor 😀 !!!
  2. No snow for another week! That won’t last, but I’m enjoying it.
  3. Homework: shopping for a new Honda Fit as part of our marketing project. It was nice to see my group back together (sort of) and to drool at the 2010 Accord.
  4. Quote: “Stop watching TV”, by Artie Isaacs (that was actually last week, but I still find it hilarious that he says it without hesitating in the XXI century).
  5. Place: Easton. I went there in the beginning of the week to finally see Sherlock (loved it).

“Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack…”  – Ke$ha

Kid’s story: shortness of breath

Timeline: Sunday evening

I see: my new wireless router working endlessly

I hear: XM radio playing in the background.

I smell: Midnight something

I feel: a little thirsty

This week was a short one, given that there was MLK day on Monday, but I feel more tired than usual. Lately, I have felt that I really can’t go the distance with whatever it is that I have to do. Partly, this is because winter quarter has been much less motivating than I expected, but interestingly (or rather, confusingly) enough, the weather has played a minor role.

The four core classes this quarter are only lectures. Naturally, some of my classmates, I assume, find that great, and I wouldn’t blame them. Quite personally, I hate lectures, but that’s just my opinion. In that sense, I can’t wait to get this quarter over with to see if I get more case studies in the spring.

So why do I find lectures so boring? Well, it is now the beginning of the fourth week in the quarter out of a total of nine weeks, and I feel that what I’ve learned is quite close to nothing. The way I see it, I’m not actually paying for a teacher to talk to me for one hour and 48 minutes about something I read the night before or that I can read any time from a book or an article. The most valuable experience in the MBA is what my classmates have to offer in the form of opinions and arguments in discussions during class. Lectures allow for much less of that than case discussions or activity-based classes. I looked back at my notes on what I’ve learned so far this quarter and there’s merely a list of topics covered, not a single item marked as KIM or WON (Keep in Mind and Worthy of Notice, respectively).

Anyway, I trust the Fisher College of Business and the wisdom of its members, and I’m sure there is a very valid reason for things being this way. I’ll be on the lookout for the missing link by which it’ll all make sense.

In other news, the warm-ish weather is slowly coming to an end (according to the weather man). I’m just glad the snow melted away for a full week and the wind was kind of calm.

Also, I hope the tow truck comes to the FC soon! Parking’s becoming a mess and around 40% of the cars parked in front of my building have no parking permit. Visitors, please park on the east side or get a ride from a resident or something… Otherwise, I hope they give a discount for having to park one or two buildings away (yeah, right…).

“Please don’t give in, I won’t let you down…”  – Adam Lambert

This week’s top five

  1. Activity: Snowboarding! It’s been a while… Won’t like it so much tomorrow, though…
  2. Positive temperatures and sunshine came back!
  3. Place: the Mall at Tuttle Crossing.
  4. Activity: giving my baby a bath 😀 !!!
  5. FM: “So I think that the Black Eyed Peas are coming to Columbus soon”; Me: “How much are the tickets?”; FM: “Something like 250 bucks”; Both: “No waaaaay…”

“… and it’s a 7-point game with just under four minutes to go…”  – TNT commentator

Kid’s story: Return of the Sith

Timeline: Monday evening

I see: Six (6) different games of the Australian open at the same time… this rocks!

I hear: pluck, pong, pluck, pong, pluck, grunt… applause.

I smell: sweet orange

I feel: the pain…

So the second quarter has started. This time around, I have decided to complain less and stick more to the facts and/or the positive aspects (let’s see how long that holds…).

Weather-wise, winter is here, but so far it hasn’t been so bad. The worst we’ve seen is -10°C and that was quite bearable. This week we were in the positive side of the scale and the 10-or-so cm of snow we had last week have melted away. Among other things, this allowed me to give my baby a bath so now she looks much prettier.

Class-wise, not much is new. We have four core classes and one elective each. One of my teammates had a problem with the scheduling of her elective and thus sees only two of the four cores with us, which has made meeting scheduling mildly more complex, but we’ve managed so far. I have noticed that we speak less often with the team, sticking to what’s very strictly necessary for group-work in the best of cases (either that or I’m being left out of the loop), which is a bit discouraging at present, but I guess it just takes some getting used to.

My elective’s really cool because I get to be a project manager for a team made up of one mechanical engineer, one electrical engineer, and one industrial designer; all of them undergrads. The task at hand is to redesign a Gauss-meter for a local company, and we have two quarters for that. So far, the team has worked very well (and I am seeing more of them than of my MBA team). Funny fact: one of them, turns out, comes from my country.

Life-wise, it has so far been manageable to cope with the weather conditions and all they entail. I now have satellite TV service and will have Wi-Fi this week, as well as a real phone (smartphone). All of these tools have certainly made my life easier in many ways. I have also engaged in winter activities: today I went snowboarding with FM and had a LOT of fun. It was in a place not far from Columbus, so I’ll probably return soon.

Something to look forward to? The internal case competition in two weeks or so!

“The result is a low-impact, calorie-blasting workout…” – Ad

Random Rants: dreaming of a white Christmas

A white Christmas is actually a dream where I come from, as it NEVER snows. I’ve seen some people actually make decorations with styrofoam just to have the color (cleaning up the mess afterward must be quite time-consuming).

Also, I’ve heard that there is usually not much snow in Washington, DC (the Fairy Godmother actually told me that a single snowflake in DC has the power to shut down the city). However, here’s what DC looked like this holiday season.

White Christmas in DC
White Christmas in DC

And yes, shoveling snow is boring.

“Llamé pa verte… tú quieres conocerme y yo conocerte…” — Wisin y Yandel

This week’s top five

  1. My Opa is OK after undergoing heart surgery… that ROCKS! Ich wünsch dir eine gute Besserung, Opa!
  2. Southwest guy: “So are you studying here in Columbus?” Me: “Yah, I am” Southwest guy: “So why didn’t you go study someplace warm?” Me: “…”
  3. Sunrise at 6 a.m., sunny with a high of 20+°C… heaven!
  4. The 2009 Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Those were some BEAUTIFUL angels!
  5. JF’s conviction power: he got EV, NF, and MH to squeeze a lemon in their eyes (among other things).

“I just can’t get you out of my head”  – Kylie Minogue (among others)

Kid’s story: Long, hard road out of hell

Timeline: Sunday morning

I see: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

I hear: the commentators and my brother’s constant messenger sounds

I smell: yes, I do… I need a shower

I feel: younger

Yup, I’m home for Christmas break. The trip over was quite fine: I flew on Thursday to Fort Lauderdale and got a ride down to Coral Gables where I spent the night, and flew home from Miami on Friday. I can’t begin to describe how happy I was to be back in Latin America.

And yes, I count the Miami area as Latin America. I mean no offense to the Americans, really, but even those living there (and I mean those who have no Latino heritage for at least four generations, or around 1% of the population) agree. A popular saying down south is that Miami is the capital of Latin America; make of it what you wish.

Back to the topic: I’m home for Christmas break. It was tough coming here at first. I mean, I had a very clear yearning for seeing my friends and speaking Spanish and the food and all that. However, I was afraid that it would be hard for me to go back to Columbus.

Regarding the friends thing, I have a few friends in Columbus (at least for my part), but I have known them for a little over three months for the best part, and in my culture you have to know a person for a longer time than a few months in order for him/her to be considered a close friend (by the way, the lady friends are a different category altogether). We’re getting there, but I miss my close friends.

Speaking Spanish is pretty self-explanatory, as is the food thing.

Even with all that, I have a few plans pending for the upcoming quarters that do quite a good job at outweighing the pros of staying home. There’s also the fact that my gordita told me she misses me (and I believed her), and the fact that I found a new home for my baby Samantha here (home) so I must relieve my babysitter MH of his duties with Sarah (in Columbus). And yes, I feel proud that I can have a babysitter with more than half an MBA degree for my baby :).

So it was hard to decide to come home and it will be even harder to go back, but I feel I must make my so-far-very-large-and-soon-to-be-even-larger investment (and all those A’s) count for something. Sorry, Fisher College, looks like you’ll have to cope with me for another quarter.

Now I just have to forget about that bloody loneliness that usually kills me in Columbus…

“¿Y quién tiene la shave del gol? Sha te voy a deciiiiir quién tiene la shave del gol…”  – Fox Sports guy

This week’s top five: random quarter rankings

This is a special edition of the top five including some random takeaways from my first quarter in the MBA program.

Top Frowns

  1. The cold weather
  2. The distance from home
  3. The ACUTE shortage of parking spaces
  4. The absence of a dependable public transportation system
  5. The fact that we have quarters instead of semesters; I feel a little force-fed knowledge-wise

Top Smiles

  1. The abundance of beautiful girls on campus
  2. The freeways, and their general lack of holes
  3. The warmth of the locals (special mentions to David Smith, Alisa, MH, GO, AB, SS, MT, and NF)
  4. The EOTWs
  5. Free food and free drinks everywhere!

Top sad lesson: people here study way too hard.

Top happy lesson: you can actually have attainable dreams here.

Top class: Econ (just because I actually understood it a bit).

Top event: MH’s party bus to the Lodge Bar.

Top place visited: Washington DC!

“Mama, I’m coming home!”  – Ozzy Osbourne