Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'm spending a lot of time on Bay area roads, and I'm realizing I may need to "de-Philly-fy" myself before I make the move to the left coast. In Philly, you need to be a pretty aggressive driver, otherwise, you won't even make it around the block. People in the Bay area are so polite on the roads! At stop signs people patiently wait for each other. And when someone does something stupid, like back their pick up truck into oncoming traffic - they just stop and wait. No angry honking, no hand gestures, no telling people where to go and where to put their dog and their mother. It's so weird. And people stop for pedestrians. What is that? In Philly, every pedestrian knows they better learn how to dash across the road like the proverbial chicken, or they may just get flattened. People here just cross the street without a care in the world. So weird. I realize I'm gonna have to let go of my Philly driving edge - and learn to pay attention to pedestrians.

I am now officially done with classes. Despite my best efforts the take home I hoped to get done last week, didn't get done last week. So yesterday I spent time in the Santa Rosa library working hard on my final (and now I think I can fairly say that all public libraries in this country attract some creepy people - but I digress), and today I sent the test via Fedex. And now I'm done. Nothing else to do except walk across the stage to get my diploma. Feels good. To celebrate I had a deep tissue massage today. That is SUCH a good thing by the way! The massage therapist said I had A LOT of tension in my back and neck (surprise surprise) and that I should get a massage once a month. Might have to suck it up and do that - life can be so tough sometimes :)

Tonight I'm gonna have some lobster tail and tomorrow I'm doing a Wine Train tour. It's so cool to just RELAX with nothing hanging over my head.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm in San Francisco looking for an apartment. Actually I'm staying in Santa Rosa, which is absolutely gorgeous. I can't even tell you how many times I gasped at the scenery while driving up here. Absolutely beautiful.

My old job as a hotel consultant is coming in handy this week. A major part of my job was going to a city, driving around A LOT, and visiting and touring about a dozen hotels. My apartment search feels a lot like that, and I find my self asking similar questions (how many units? what's your occupancy? etc. etc.). I guess old habits die hard.

I'm really glad I'm taking the time to get to know the different parts of the Bay area - cuz all the parts ain't created equal. For instance, after seeing a particularly cute apartment online, I was excited to go and see it. Well little did I know the place was smack dab in the middle of the Oakland ghetto. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

And I'm realizing that people in the Bay area are kind of special. Three times (that's right three) I was asked if Philadelphia is a city. It was all I could do to keep myself from responding "yes, it's a city that happens to be the birthplace of our nation." One person asked me if Philadelphia was a state. Seriously. I mean there's 50 - and they haven't changed in a long time. These were all people who grew up in the US too. Makes you worry about the US' ability to compete... at least in random trivia contests.

Spring gala was last week. The gala is essentially the prom (seriously - they should rename Wharton, Wharton High), it was great to see everyone gussied up and in good spirits. The second years seemed particularly affectionate. Maybe its because for some, the Spring Gala is the last time you'll see certain people. All this second year love and good feeling means things will be VERY interesting during beach week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One class left to go and it's all over. Wow.

Most of the second years seem to be a little bit more pleasant these days. I don't think it's because we're almost done. After all, most of us have had a plethora of projects and papers and finals and presentations due this week. And this type of concentration of due dates usually makes people cranky. No, something else is a foot with the second years.

I think it's because we all are realizing this is it. With a few exceptions, like Spring Salute, Spring Gala, Beach Week, and Graduation, we just won't see each other anymore. So it feels like people are just trying to savor the time we have left. It's kind of nice... in a sad way.

Just a take home and one class stand between me and being done. It's funny how these two years felt slow and fast at the same time.

Well, I'm off to bed since I can actually get a good nights rest tonight.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm sick *whine*whine*. And I normally don't get sick. And I have 3 projects and 1 take-home final to complete in the next 36 hours *kvetch*kvetch*. I'm tired and I want to go to sleep. *pout*pout*

OK. Enough of that. There are two days of classes left. I'm in the final stretch. It feels weird to be this close to the end. Next week, I'm headed to San Francisco to find a place to live. I also plan to begin what will become four months of doing absolutely nothing. I'm staying at a spa in Sonoma, and while far from San Fran, I plan to take advantage of the spa facilities. Should be a relaxing week. The following week, will be a week in Philly with NOTHING to do, well except clean my very cluttered apartment. And then we have Beach Week, which is kind of like the senior trip - a big chunk of the second year class heads down to Miami Beach, and makes up for two years of lost time pursuing whatever they think they should pursue. Should be a fun and interesting time.

At the end of this week, we have the Spring Gala, which is kind of like our Prom (I swear, Wharton can be SOOO high school), and I'm going stag with a bunch of my friends. We've decided to turn it into a ladies night. I love my dress for the Gala, and I am absolutely determined to have a kick ass time.

Well that's enough lallygagging - back to the grind!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Seven more days of class left. The days at Wharton are sliding quickly like sand at the end of an hourglass. The days move fast, and trying to catch them is like trying to stop water as it flows through your fingertips.

I really enjoy my classes this quarter. As I mentioned before, I'm only taking four classes. Two are semester long. The first, Marketing Strategy, is taught by one of my favorite professors from the core. It's kind of like a capstone marketing class. The lessons are subtle, and you need to pay attention to get the take aways. The second semester long class is Creativity. This class is about learning how to be more creative and how to manage creative people and processes. The class is very unstructured, which was initially very annoying, but I really enjoy it. I've learned a lot about not just how to manage the creatives, but how to be a better leader. One of the major lessons I've learned has been about the importance of not shunning failure - and that's a recurring theme at Wharton.

My other two classes are quarter long. The first, Pricing Policy, is a combination of the core Marketing class, Managerial Economics, Decision Modeling, and Consumer Behavior all rolled into one. The other quarter long class has the propensity for making me feel incredibly stupid. It's a class on Behavioral Economics and Prediction Markets. The class is taught by another one of my favorite profs from the core, and it's very interesting. It's an area I was completely unaware of before this class, so that's cool. But the class is a lot of sports and betting lingo, and I know nothing about either subject. Top that with a lot of math and stats, and I'm in stupid land. The behavioral part of the class is pretty interesting though, and I'm learning a lot about markets and human biases.

I'm going to miss the chance to learn about things I didn't even know existed. I guess that doesn't necessarily need to end. Maybe the key is realizing that the gift of Wharton is not just the opportunities to learn during the two year break from the real world. Wharton awakens a curiosity to learn - and that isn't dependent on being in the classroom.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Welcome to Wharton's Class of 2008! Tomorrow is the first day of Wharton Welcome Weekend, and I look forward to meeting the incoming class. WWW is the only time that there are 3 classes of Wharton MBAs on campus at once. As this is my third WWW, it feels weird to see the circle complete.

Tonight I had my big debut at the Kimmel Center. Seriously! I participated in the Dance Studio spring performance. No, I didn't dance. But I sang, briefly. I was really nervous. Actually, I was scared to go out on stage. But despite the twinge of fear, the experience was incredibly exhilarating. It will probably go down as one of the high points of Wharton. Tomorrow night we have another performance. I'm looking forward to it.

Classes are continuing at a steady clip. Let me begin by saying that taking 4 classes is AWESOME. I love having a lighter work load. And I can actually take the time to learn and really think about my classes. I really enjoy all of my classes. Looking back on the electives I chose I think I did a good job of selecting a diverse bunch of classes. I feel like I was exposed to subject matter that I didn't even know existed. And the opportunity to learn stuff like that is wonderful.

But more on that later. I've got a paper due tomorrow, and I only slept 2 hours last night, so I need to catch up on some zzzzzzz.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Three weeks left. That's it. 12 class days. Well now 11 class days. I can't believe I'm that close to being done.

I know most second years are glad to be done. Everyday, I hear sob stories about all the exams and projects that are left to undertake in the next three weeks. And don't get me wrong, when I have a major project due in every class over the course of 2 days, I'll be whining too. But I can't rejoice about being almost done.

I'm really sad the Wharton journey is ending. I've had an amazing time. I've learned so much. I've pushed myself academically in ways I didn't think possible. Developed skills that I never knew I could. And learned so much about myself - and I think I'm better for it.

It feels really different to be on the other side of this two year experience. I remember how excited I was to begin. How scared I was that I wouldn't be able to cut it. I was really nervous. And now, I feel like I can do almost anything if I put my mind to it. I may not always win - but I know I'll learn something along the way. So after such a transformative experience, I'm sure you can get why I'm a bit sad to leave.

So I plan to relish the last bit of my Wharton days. I will squeeze the life out of those 11 days. If it's anything like the rest of my tenure here, I'm sure it will be an amazing (albeit too brief) ride.

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