The Longest Walk

I started my MBA three years ago with an ambiguous end goal. I certainly didn’t really picture myself here, at the end of the line. But, here we are, and after three solid years of papers, tests, all-weekend work sessions and major projects, I am done. There’s going to be a sadness now that it’s over, and some feelings of being in limbo. After a while, that will pass, and I will continue towards the future. I am in the middle of achieving some of my dreams, completed others, and still others are nebulous, unfolding out before me.

I could not have made this journey alone.

I missed milestones along the way in pursuit of this achievement. To my friends and family who were so patient and supportive, even in times that I could not return the favor, I am so grateful for the love and support you gave me. Had I been more of a fire-forged person, I may have been able to do it alone. But the truth is that I am not, so everything you have done, from asking me how it was going, to being excited that I was nearly done made all of the difference in the world to me. I carried each of you with me across the stage on Sunday.

Along the way, there were teachers and mentors who went above and beyond to help me not only in the classroom, but in my life. An education starts in a classroom, but without real life, it is achieved in a vacuum and is meaningless. I could not have made it without those mentors. I will continue to hold them dear and seek out new ones along the way, because a path is made much easier with a guide.

I wish I had a picture of the view from the stage when I got my diploma to show you, because there truly is nothing like it: to see a sea of faces and hear the applause of a few thousand people. It is an odd and wonderful thing to hear your full name across a loudspeaker and hear people clapping for you. I hope that in whatever you do, you get a chance to hear and see that: it is amazing.

It’s still hitting me, in inches, that this is a reality. I earned this: in laughter, tears, arguments, long days of both work and school, in shaky relief of delivered presentations, in naps across chairs in a library and meals out of vending machines. I earned it, I would not trade a single minute of it, and I wear it all as a badge of honor.

Julia Z, MBA

NaBloPoMo’12: Jockey

I have an exam tomorrow, and let’s just be proud of the fact that I started studying tonight. I have a feeling that I’m going to be pulling it out in the zero-hour tomorrow.

I have no idea why this semester is my least-motivated semester, but I am having the worst time getting engaged with the material, which is a bummer because I love the subject matter. We also have a group project, and I feel like all I’m doing is herding cats. I can’t get anyone to get on board.

Is this somehow related to the fact that the last group project I did was for the capstone class, and I had four other group members who were highly engaged and motivated through the process because graduation depended on it? I mean, I was working with people who were in constant communication, were very good about bouncing ideas off one other, and willing to meet at any/all times so that we could get stuff done. This group? Not so much.

As much as I’d like to be the taskmaster and push relentlessly to get this project done, I’m also combating the fact that I just can’t get my energy into it. I could ride them like a two-penny hooker, but I just don’t have it in me right now. All I can do is the little break-off tasks I’ve given myself that work behind the scenes to keep the project rolling.

But anyway, wish me luck tomorrow. I have a pretty decent handle on the material, it’s just going to be remembering it all that’s the tough part.

So Long, Summer…

Well, I believe we can stick a fork in this summer, as it is Labor Day. I’m only a little sad to see it go. It’s been lovely having warm weather and long days, but I crave the changing fall foliage and the harvest season. K is of course, considering her options for being a snowbird and claims that I must be some kind of Fascist for loving this season.

Speaking of K, she got me into Mistresses late last week, so I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time glued to my iPad and Amazon Instant Video. So of course, I spent the weekend poking around and adding Downton Abbey and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I haven’t spent a lot of time streaming TV, maybe mostly out of this grandiose sense of “I’m better than the boob tube,” but now that I’ve had that first real hit of instant entertainment delivery into the vein, I definitely need to step up my game.

I was shopping for Roku boxes, and had decided on one, but Zero had an extra Playstation 3 laying around (as you do), so he is going to let me use it for the foreseeable future.

So, when he’s delivering the PS3, we’re also going to take our prints to get framed. He has the blueprint specs of the Batmobile that he’s framing, and I got this really cool Loki print in the style of Mucha.  Let’s be real: this is the grownup equivalent of having a Teen Beat poster on the wall, but at the end of the day, it’s still art. I also have plans to get some other comic-book-themed art in the future, too.

So, it’s the final semester, and I’ve already enjoyed the topics, and I like the professor. The only thing I’m not digging is the venue. We’re a class of 20 students, and they have it in the lecture hall. I find it had to believe that there is no other room in the building for us to have class. I think the thing I dislike the most is the size of the work surface I have to navigate.

In Which the Universe is Clearly Looking Out for Me

So, my school tenure is drawing to a close, and this semester is the last one I have before I can start adding alphabet soup to the end of my name. I will not wax poetic about it now, I will save that for the end of the semester.

What I will tell is about how this semester almost ended up being the one that killed me, though.

The reality is that sorting out whether or not my Business Law class counted or not pretty much destroyed my weekend. There were tears, folks. The ugly kind that result in snot bubbles in noses.

In short, when I was given the list of classes that CSU would accept and count towards my degree, the (utterly useless) BLW class that I took as an undergrad was not included on that list. So, in the true spirit of really enjoying and wanting to learn the material, I took it again at the graduate level.

In a moment of panic, not remembering whether or not it had been counted (it had been about a year since I looked at the list of required courses to graduate), I started down the rabbit hole that became “usually students don’t take BLW as one of their electives,” which then led to the utterly ineffective meeting with the business graduate advisor who said, “No, you can’t take this course twice if you had it in undergrad, but talk to the head of the Accounting department, who is in charge of the Business Law curriculum” which led to the most unprofessional conversation I’ve had with a faculty member in my entire educational career.

I don’t know what I found more insulting: that the head of the Accounting department trashed my graduate program over the Accounting program no less than three times in the course of the conversation, that he let me stand in the doorway a good five minutes before addressing me so he could look on his computer, that he was utterly unhelpful, or that he insulted my memory because I couldn’t remember a class I took 6 years ago as an undergrad, or that I couldn’t remember the name of the Accounting 601 professor I had three years ago (trust me, that class was wholly unmemorable).

I uncharacteristically burst into tears as soon as I left his office.

So, I left that meeting with no resolution, but the name and an introductory email to the Academic Dean in the hopes that I could maybe get it resolved before the 31st (the last day to drop an extra class without having to pay a portion of the fee for the class).

Through the whole weekend, I was seeing twelve weeks of class for four nights a week, which really was the lesser of all scheduling evils. It would take a lot of discipline on my part to keep it together and be able to have a semblance of a life, but ultimately, I was going to make the best of it, and maybe learn a few lessons.

I almost didn’t call the Dean today, thinking there was more than likely no hope to have BLW count. But I knew that if I didn’t, I would always wonder.

So I sucked it up and called him, thinking I’d have to make a physical appointment for tomorrow. But, I actually got him on the phone, and I explained that the head of the Accounting department had emailed him on Friday about my situation, and would there be any way to get the class to count. I was surprised at how kind the Dean was, especially after dealing with that codger in Accounting.

After saying again that yes, I had already taken the class in undergrad, but didn’t realize that even though it wasn’t on my course sheet, it was apparently being counted, he said that he would get back to me.

I only had to wait 20 minutes. He said it would count, just make sure I had the 9 elective hours total to graduate.

I thanked him profusely, hung up the phone, and almost started crying again. I dropped the second class I had picked up.

I’m almost done, folks. I have one class I’m taking two nights a week from 8:00 – 9:15. It gives me time to work out after work if I want to, to have dinner at home rather than eating out. No fighting traffic to get downtown after work. I can go out to dinner with friends who work downtown before I go to class.

I’m a semester away from having every weeknight free again. One semester away from being able to read something that’s not a textbook on any given evening. One semester away from not having to write a paper, or work on a group project, or study for a test for a long, long time if I so choose.

Feels good, man.

This ‘n’ That

The good news is that I do have a few more posts of substance lined up behind this one, but for now, as long as the spirit is willing and the flesh is able, I’d like to get something down into electronic words.

I was going to try to read cram a chapter of two in out of the “textbook” for the final I have tomorrow in before bed. But I’ve had such a day that I would much rather let the outline I wrote up tonight be good enough. The class is such that the material is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just naming the theories that’s going to be a little tough. The nice thing though is that I’m not panicking!

I’ve finished the wedding art card for my friend whose wedding Charlie and I will be attending this weekend. I’ll post the big reveal on Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook for my non-interwebsy friends. This design is a definitely different take from the one I did for the last wedding I was a guest at, but like all children, I love it just the same.

I’ll have more news on the Zentangle front, but I have a few loose administrative ends to tie up before I go blabbing about it on the Internet. I promise, though, if everything works out, I’ll spill the details here.