Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Proficient Is Sufficient

Midterms ended last Friday. The results are in and the news is positive. I need to work doubly hard in two classes if I want to guarantee a strong finish. Otherwise, proficient all around. And, as we say here at SOM, proficient is sufficient.

It's a tremendous relief to be done with midterms/finals. During that week, I got 1 hour of sleep on Sunday and Monday nights; and three hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A little cold at the beginning of week turned into a terrible one by the end of it. With so little sleep and so much caffeine, my body didn't stand a chance in fighting off the illness. I managed to sleep a lot over the weekend though and am now as good as new.

While I would definitely consider this the most intense academic experience of my life, I did okay. I feel calm moving forward with the program and am confident in my ability to succeed here. These midterms were very validating.

P.S. One thing that I had forgotten about the grading at schools is how inconsistent it can be. You can have the exact same answer as someone else, but receive a different number of points. That drives me crazy; especially since it seems to be me with the lower number of points nearly every time. I hope the TAs are a little more generous with me come finals. LOL.

Another thing that bugs me is the "class participation" grade. This is used to justify giving higher marks to teacher's pets, even though other students scored higher on exams and were generally more familiar with the material.

Both of these things happen at all schools. So, it's nothing against Yale. It's just generally not very cool.

Monday, October 17, 2005

One Down, Four To Go

Finished the Econ midterm about an hour ago. It kicked my a$$, but everybody I talked to afterwards told me that they struggled with it.

I devoted all of my time these last four days to studying for Econ: 20 hours preparing a summary of the course, 6 hours taking practice tests, countless hours spent working random problems from the workbook, 4 hours meeting with my study group, and 2 hours sitting through a review session.

In the end, I think it was worth the extra effort. I'll know for sure next week.

I have to get started on studying for Finance. But I LOVE Finance, so I'm going to enjoy taking tomorrow's midterm. Accounting is on Wednesday - another WOOHOO! Data is Thursday - blech. And Friday is Strategy. An hour after our midterm on Friday, first years go on a school-sponsored drinking binge at a bar that's been rented just for us to celebrate the end of midterms. I'm thinking we'll all need a beer or seven by then.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Last Two Weeks

It's been a tough two weeks, people. But I'm proud to say that I've managed to survive them. Here's the lowdown:

Tonight: Just got back from a party. As social chair of a SOM club, I felt it was my duty to interact fully with members of similar clubs from other schools on campus. So I spent my evening drinking and bumming out cigarettes. Will my new-found popularity fade? Of course it will. Right now, however, I'm preoccupied with other things.

Study Groups & Studying: Okay. So I'm in a new study group and I love the people I'm working with. The first group ended disastrously, so much so in fact that it was the talk of the school for at least a week. One girl came up to me and actually said, "I have such good gossip!" When she finished her story, I informed her that the gossip was actually about my study group and that it didn't quite happen exactly the way she heard it. In short, there was a woman in the group who was a little stressed out. Now, to be fair, we all express our stress in dissimilar ways. Her way was to snap at other members of the group. This, unfortunately, made many of us afraid to speak. I have the utmost respect for this woman, and I'm pretty convinced that she'll end up ruling the world someday. But her approach - and I'm sure she's learning a new one - left something to be desired, as it alienated everyone. All in all, she's definitely an anamoly here. Most of us vent our frustrations in other ways. A classmate of mine, for instance, told a story about how she walked home one day crying hysterically. This approach to the stress of ever-mounting volumes of work is how most of us deal with the pain and frustration of feeling unworthy, of doubting our abilities and questioning whether or not we will succeed. So, I encourage anyone who's reading this blog to take heart. Your first year at any good school is about learning how to deal with your insecurities, of coming to grips with the fact that there are plenty of people out there who are smarter than you are. But, when you choose to challenge yourself, you have a choice. Either you give up; or, you turn "I can't do this" into "I have to try to do this." And that's where I've been these last few weeks. I've been questioning my desire to continue this undertaking. Will I be rewarded for all of the hard work I've put in, or will I fail out of business school? I hope it's the former but I'm amazed at how much I've learned in such a short period of time that failing out now would still make the obscene amount of money I've spend in tuition worthwhile. I can actually speak intelligently about such subjects as accounting, finance, statistics, and strategy. These are four of my five courses. The one class I'm having a problem with: Economics.

Economics: Okay, WTF?! I can not wrap my head around this subject. It may have something to with the graphical representation of market forces. It could just be that I find it hard to study this as a science when it seems so much more like a social science to me. In any case, I find it hard to process the information in this class, and I'm feeling very alone in this. Most of my classmates are actually doing well in this subject. Finance is often cited as the class that gives my peers the most difficulty. Of course, I have to be different. Finance is actually EXCITING for me. I love the class, and I find myself in conversations with perfect strangers speaking very passionately about the subject. So why not Econ? I guess we can't all be good at everything, but it would be nice if I could get past elasticity and onto utility analysis and production. I'm feeling as though I've fallen behind; a dangerous place to be with midterms just a week away.

Midterms: The stress of midterms is upon us. I'm not sure if I'll have an opportunity to blog before they hit, so wish me luck. My only is desire at this point is to survive the intensity of the next two weeks. While my classmates are not competitive with each other, we are competitive with ourselves. Wanting to do your best is admirable; but not to the point that you feel as though your entire life hangs in the balance. How will we do? Well, as many second-years have repeatedly observed, we shouldn't be that concerned. On the one hand, I agree. We wouldn't have been admitted if we couldn't handle the work, right? On the other hand, I'm terrified of being one of those three to five students who, every year, are asked to leave. I want to do well. We all do. My one hope is that all of my classmates make it through successfully. I don't know what I would do without their support and encouragement. I love them. I really do.

And that's pretty much it. At some point, I hope to catch up on my blog reading and try to write more consistently. Until that day comes, I hope my blogging buddies are working hard and enjoying life.

Edits: Several. I've got to stop BWD. LOL.