Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Overly Tired

I am physically and mentally exhausted.  I am getting about six hours of sleep a night and still not getting as much studying done as I need to.  Between the gym, errands, laundry, and writing our group marketing plan on top of going to school, keeping up with my friends and working full time, I need a few more hours in the day.  I don't know if it is the lack of sleep, homesickness or my hormones gone haywire, but my eyes got a little watery this morning as I put together a tour package. 

It does, however, seem to be in the water around here.  Shaum is completely overwhelmed with MBA applications (I would be too if I were applying to four of the top ten schools in the nation) and AJ is apartment hunting with his girlfriend.  None of us know where we'll be in a year and that's daunting in and of itself.  Add to that some everyday stressors and an existential crisis and we've got a winning combination. 

The good news is that I can get things done when I sit down and concentrate.  I got really far on our marketing plan when I put on my iPod, tuned out the world, and wrote.  Hopefully I will be able to do the same thing for finance this weekend.  I need to be able to price bonds and learn the difference between NPV and IRR.  I also have birthday parties to go to and launrty to do, but I guess that's all secondary at this very moment in time.  School is most definitely the priority.

But again, it's a bit bittersweet.  I met some amazing people this time around (one in particular, whom I won't have classes with next semester) and I hate to see another chapter in life end.  I need to continue to remember that things not only happen for a reason, but they happen when they're meant to.  This summer held a lot of deadlines for me and they're getting too close for comfort.  I promised myself that I would enjoy what may very well be my last LA summer.  That I would start really looking for jobs next semester (super scary!) and that I would get it all together in order to make my next transition in life that much more smooth. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finals Countdown

I need to get on the productivity train.  I'm been having a hard time keeping motivated lately and have managed to spend too much time moping, hanging out with friends, and strategizing as opposed to getting down to work.  I spent most of my waking hours this weekend procrastinating and vacillating between being totally stressed out and completely relaxed.  But really, that's pretty normal around these parts. 

I'm having a serious case of writer's block with regards to our group marketing plan and it doesn't help that the rest of my team seems pretty unmotivated and unconcerned with how the final paper is going to turn out.  I know I'm working with smart guys, but being the only female in the group and still needing to study A LOT for finance, I'm a bit worried that it's going to get down to the wire.  I think I've made a valiant effort at trying to get everyone on the same page, but I can't honestly get on my teammates when I'm having a hard time putting the words on paper.  I can blog, but I'm coming up short for marketing.  Of course. 

They say that group/team work is a really important part of business school but I never believed it.  If given the choice, I tend to do things by myself.  I have a hard time with teamwork because I like to be in control and do things in my own way and according to my own schedule.  I don't write in a linear fashion and I find that I'm best under pressure; I conquer projects one bit at a time, rarely in order. But in almost every class there has been some form of teamwork.  This marketing class and my quantitative analysis class, however, have been the most team intensive.  Quant was my first class at Pepperdine and meeting with my group almost every weekend became incredibly draining.  It did, however, teach me how to work with different personalities.  I found myself taking on more than my share of responsibilities, but it was a learning experience.  This marketing group has been different in that I'm working with four guys so there's that whole dynamic.  But besides teaching me how to work cooperatively, I've made great friends.  I never thought I'd say this, but part of me is sad to see the end of this semester. 

We had a review session Friday night for our finance final exam and I finally feel like I'm putting the pieces together.  I've become more comfortable with the concepts from the earlier chapters and have been able to spend more time on these last chapters.  I'm definitely not going to ace this exam, but if I manage to put my nose to the grind here, I might be able to pull off a respectable grade.  I have to. 

I also went out to dinner and drinks with some of the guys from my class afterward.  And that, in fact, is what business school is all about.  In the end, its about the connections we make.  As Tony would say, "networking" sounds so trite.  It connotes that we're using each other for something, rather than making new friends and learning about one another.  It ended up being a group of people whom I don't know really well, and some of their friends.  It was a lot of fun, the company was great, and we bonded in a way we can't in a classroom.  Considering I don't get along so well with some of the people from my the earlier semesters, it felt good to make new business school friends.  Or any friends, really. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Up Oprah?!

The past six days have been extraordinary.  I took off work last Friday to go camping with eight of my friends up by Lake Arrowhead.  For me, the best part of the trip were the car rides with Gina.  G is in commercial real estate, starting her MBA program at Pepperdine next month, and is an all around spectacular human.  We got to talk for hours and really bonded.  I mean, I adore this girl (and her ridiculous cooking skills - I have a lot to learn fro her).  The rest of the time was spent relaxing, napping, drinking, eating and laughing at each other.  Despite being sweaty and dirty, it was a great way to spend 48 hours.

And the shower I took when I got home?! I don't mean to gross you out, but I had to clean the bathroom when I was done.  There was scrubbing involved.  Both on me and the tub.  We got home early enough on Sunday that I could do laundry, iron, grocery shop and nap before heading back to the office for what I expected to be a long and brutal week.

HA!  While the brokers were away in San Francisco, I got to take Tuesday off.  I had every intention of staying home with my finance textbook and getting through some killer material.  But we know how this story ends because its summer, I live in LA and I'm a bit of a tan slore. 

So Tuesday morning I putzed around the house like only I can, hung out by the pool with Gina, and then took her school supply shopping.  I mean, that's pretty much my idea of a spectacular day no matter how you slice it.  Add to that a completely blissed-out afternoon/evening/night of eating, cuddling, and laying under the setting sun and I'm completely worthless. 

Now it's time to get my head out of the clouds and get to work.  I have two weeks to conquer 20 chapters of finance, write a group marketing plan and give a presentation. All I really want to do is go to Dodgers games, lap up the sun and enjoy the last few weeks I still have an "excuse" to hang out with my bschool peeps from this semester.  Failure is not an option.  And I'm not close to failing.  I'm just not doing as well as I would like, especially given that I'm in a finance class and that's what I should really be excelling at. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Business school has been wrought with tough choices.  But I guess that's just a part of growing up.  A part of life, really.  Our decisions shape who we are, what we do and who we become.  Some are automatic and require little thought, while others are life-altering and require insight and patience to process.  Good thing most decisions in life are closer to the former!

Tomorrow morning I will register for classes for my fourth semester of business school.  WHAT?!  I'm definitely having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I will have my MBA in a year.  My life will hopefully look very little like what it looks like now.  And of course this is both scary and exciting.  Kinda like how I felt a year ago. 

For the first three semesters, the choice of which classes to sign up for was more a matter of logistics than anything else.  I knew which classes I had to take and in what sequence, so it was more about the professors I wanted and the nights I was available.  That certainly isn't the case anymore.

Going into business school, I knew that I wanted to concentrate in finance.  I always regretted not taking finance classes in undergrad so this was the perfect opportunity.  Really, the impetus for the whole thing.  Unfortunately, the professor for my core finance class hasn't been great.  Intuitively, I understand what is going on in class.  But I'm having a bit of trouble connecting the dots.  I've also been more distracted than usual this semester and haven't really put in the necessary time. 

There's a great professor who teaches an entrepreneurial elective next semester that I'm dying to take.  Its about venture capital and start-ups and that's really the part of finance that interests me.  Due to the strict restrictions of the my concentration, however, it's not possible to take this class and still graduate with the necessary finance credits.  While part of me really wants to forget about the concentration and focus on the classes that I'll enjoy, this time around I think I know better.  If I want to get a real venture capital, private equity or investment banking job, I need to have this credential. 

As much as business school is about making connections, friends and personal development, it's about getting a job.  And learning.  While I bemoan bad, boring teachers and would prefer to learn about things I'm personally interested in (and take this entrepreneurial class with my friends), I know I need to "suck it up".  While I'm not thrilled to take this next finance elective, hopefully it will be better than the finance class I'm currently struggling through. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Honesty and Expectations

In my never-ending quest to control everything, I get all kinds of uptight.  I try to will things to go a certain way and get upset when they don't.  I over analyze and process and plan.  And I rarely just let things happen.  This is particularly true when it comes to men.  I often attempt to make nothing into something, disregard the somethings, and forget how to go with the flow.

At the end of last year I became involved with a man who was completely outside of my comfort zone.  From his past to his friends to his age and choice of profession, I had never met anyone quite like him.  I couldn't put him in a box or identify how I felt about him in a romantic sense.  We had a connection, but it never made sense.  To either of us.  At first I pushed him away.  But as soon as I became emotionally involved and started to have expectations, he bolted. 

Shocking, right?! It's actually quite a cliche.  And one I'm becoming all too familiar with as I find myself attracted to a certain kind of man in LA: charismatic, brilliant, a bit eccentric, and completely aloof.  So I did the only thing I could; I let things cool off. 

After three months, he and I have been back in contact and yesterday we decided to get together to catch up.  And it was one of the most honest and fun days I've had in a long time.  Because I had no more expectations and I wasn't trying to get him to see me in a certain way, we could completely be ourselves.  I remembered why I liked and admired him and how much he made me laugh when I could let myself go and be silly.  Perhaps it was because I just needed to have someone's complete attention for an afternoon while we played bocce ball and caught some rays on the back porch. 

We talked a lot about his motivation to continue to write and work and he helped me to see that I'm more than what I do and what I study.  The circumstances under which we met were curious, but maybe we were brought into each others lives for reasons it took seven months to discover.  Perhaps we're all more alike than we like to lead on. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July

I love holidays.  You've heard me get all worked up about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter.  Wait, wait.  I need to amend this.  I don't love all holidays and I don't love them like Martha Stewart loves them.  I couldn't care less about decorating my house with Easter eggs, American flags or skeletons.  I think it's more about the passing of the seasons for me.  Halloween just isn't my thing and St. Patty's Days are usually less than exciting.  But the Fourth of July really gets me going. 

I suppose the reason I love the holidays I do are because they bring back good memories.  There's absolutely nothing like spending a warm Michigan weekend boating, drinking, napping, and laughing on the lake with family and friends and then watching all the neighbors' illegal fireworks go off as the temperature drops and the sunburn kicks in.  Now I haven't done this since the summer after I graduated from college, but I've had a few great Fouths in LA too.  One year we saw Kenny Loggins at the Hollywood Bowl and more recently I've gotten into the habit of spending the day at the beach with friends and then barbecuing and watching the fireworks off the pier.

Unlike most years, or most weekends for that matter, I don't have any set plans this time around.  Fortunately, the majority of my friends live near the beach so I'm pretty sure I'll end up sunbathing and catching the fireworks from someones roof.  Fireworks have a special place in my heart.  Whether it's on the lake, at a baseball game, at the country club or off the pier, I find them to be completely mesmerizing, astounding and romantic. 

The difficult thing about this weekend, though it has nothing to do with the Fourth of July, is that my friends fall into two categories: crazy, single and chasing 21 year-old boys and coupled-off and boring.  Where exactly does that leave me? In general, I'm pretty low-key.  I tend not to drink in excess (anymore) but I like to have a good time (I am single and in my late-twenties, after all).  I love outdoor activities and being social, but I have no intention - at least premeditated - of getting too wild or even staying in. It's definitely my goal for the holiday weekend to have a wonderful and memorable time, but to be productive and mellow as well.