Sunday, August 26, 2007

One year ago today, I was settling into a hotel room in Boston anxiously awaiting my first day of work at Bridgespan. It feels like its been longer than that.

I remember worrying about whether I could cut it as a consultant. Whether I'd be smart enough, likable enough, and of course, whether I'd wear the right shoes. I wondered if Bridgespan was the right job for me and whether I was right for it.

A year has passed and I realize that I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it - people like me! I feel like the consultant position at Bridgespan fits me like a glove and I believe I'm a valuable member of the team. And I KNOW I'm wearing the right shoes.

Despite my love for the job, the commitment to the causes we serve, and the pure adoration for the people I work with, this year has not been without its challenges. Consulting and its lingo and frameworks is not a natural state of being. I'm still learning a lot - which is great. But I still worry that I may not be learning fast enough or that my approach to the work might not be "consulting-ey" enough. I guess no matter where you are or what you do, life isn't without its anxieties.

In addition to the case in early learning, I just got staffed to an education case. We're working with a charter management organization (CMO). Bridgespan does a lot of education work, but this is my first foray into the K-12 world. My work stream (which just means the part of the case I'm working on) includes looking at school performance data. It was shocking to me to learn how poorly schools all over the country were doing. Don't get me wrong - I knew schools were bad but I had no CLUE how few kids graduate or can pass a standardized math test or have a chance of getting a college education. The stats are incredibly scary. And I also wonder about the data we collect on kids. The data I've been looking at is all about test scores - but is that the point of school really? It reminds me of the grade non-disclosure debate at Wharton (whatever happened with that - it's funny how something you care passionately about can fade from view over time... out of sight out of mind I guess). Are those who do the best on tests the ones who received the best and most fulfilling education?

But like I said - I'm completely new to the ed space. Who knows? Maybe what I learn over the coming months will make me a believer in the proof that tests matters most. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I hope not.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Super long time - no post.

Things have been hectic at work and my refusal to get more than wireless card (that doesn't work in my apartment ) for internet has squashed my ability to blog to nearly non-existence.

I still love my job - I moved on to a new case in early learning. We're working with a nonprofit that's focused on making sure children from birth to five have the right opportunities to be successful in school and in life. What's really cool about this organization is how they approach early learning. It's not just about childcare and preschool. They recognize that MANY different factors affect a child's ability to succeed in school: their parents, the community they live in, the other adults they interact with regularly, their physical conditions of the environments they are in, etc. etc. What's really exciting about this view, is how they are working to change how people think about early child development - which I believe is critical to being able to change early learning experiences and getting more kids school ready.

I'm still in love with the Bay area - I can hardly believe that exactly one year ago I moved out here to my new home. I have to say, San Fran's weather has finally reared it's weird head. I never thought I'd say this but I miss hot and humid summers. There's something to be said for having a sticky night where you throw open the window and turn on the fan full blast and HOPE that the stickiness will subside enough to allow sleep. But something tells me if I were in a hot sticky summer I'd remember why it sucks. Funny - I don't miss the snow that way.

I am ready to move into the city though. I live in the suburbs - and despite my insistence that the commute doesn't bother me, I have to say, the commute ABSOLUTELY sucks. Especially late at night when I'm hanging out. It sucks to leave dinner at 10p knowing that I won't cross my threshold until 11p. I need to rectify that - I don't know what I was thinking. No I take that back - I liked my neighborhood - it was sanitized and safe and full of shopping. But I need to live in the city. I'm a single girl! I guess I didn't think about that when I moved a year ago. Oh well. Hopefully, this time next year I'll be in a smaller apartment that I pay out the nose for. Hey - at least I'll be in the city!

I'm not sure if I'll continue blogging. Firstly, I started this blog to talk about my anxieties about the business school application process and then my anxieties about school itself. Now don't get me wrong, I have plenty of anxieties about work. Last week for example was a particularly hard week for me. But there's something about the lack of anonymity that keeps me from blogging about that. And I don't want to blog about clients so...

And that's a nice segue to my second thought - "the seal" has been broken. People at work have discovered the blog. And they sometimes bring it up in conversation. I don't know why it weirds me out to have people at work reading the blog. People at Wharton read my stuff all the time and often commented on what I posted. But this feels different. It feels like two worlds are colliding. I feel like George Costanza ("If Relationship George walks through that door, he will kill Independent George! A George divided against itself, cannot stand!") Well not that extreme but you get the picture.

So this may be one of my last posts. Unless I can find a way to write about stuff going on in my life (and let's face it the majority of that is stuff at work) without feeling like I'm violating other people's privacy or client confidentiality or (most importantly) "the seal." We'll see.


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