Wednesday, October 28, 2009

diversity career day

I went to Diversity Career Day today... well, it is only Day 1.

Anyway, it was a pretty intimidating experience, considering that I was a second year history major. Not only were most companies looking for business-related majors, the fact that I was only a second year and not a third or fourth year ready to be snapped up for work turned off a lot of employers. However, I definitely did not go in there with the mindset of coming out with a job offer or an interview. Instead, as a good friend of mine pointed out, it was about noticing the way students stood when they talked to a prospective employer, or the clothes that an employer wore, or the fact that the employer had a clipboard with a checklist on it. (FYI, the way students stand is body language and can show interest levels and power dynamics, the clothes that employers wear reveals the culture of the company, and the checklist could show an early screening process and suggests lots of competition.)

Despite the fact that I looked snappy and I had 10 resumes printed out in my bag, I was still intimidated. Why is that? I think what bothered me the entire time at Diversity Career Day was the fact that I was shut down because I was a history major. The quick mental short or heuristic that many people take when they hear "history major" is a student with an obscure set of skills. Possibly images of dusty historians come to mind or a terrible experience with an eighth grade history teacher. Yet, I believe that as a history major, I am being taught to think, write, and even speak analytically. I am exposed to trends in history that continue on to this day, and gain a background in events that happen in the world today. Liberal arts degrees should be as recognized as business and engineering degrees. Or perhaps I am talking to the wrong employers, and there should be more employers who are looking for liberal art majors on Diversity Career Day.

I could probably keep on going, but I have to study for a midterm for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

musing of a girl with a knapsack

Coming from my favorite little coffee-tea shop, Para Coffee (shameless plug, I know... it's on Elliewood!!!), I bumped into a friend on the Corner. It's the typical UVa scene. Two college students, a boy with a cup of coffee and a girl with a knapsack, talking in front of the bus stop on the brick-paved streets of the Corner. It happens all the time.

I guess what's different about this scene is that I knew this guy for only a month. I took three summer classes over two months, and we had met through one of them. For those of you unfamiliar with UVa's summer classes, the entire summer is split up into three sessions (session I, session II, session III). The maximum number of classes that you can take per session is two. Yours truly, being the overzealous and overachieving student that I am, took three classes and had a job. Needless to say, there was a negative correlation between the number of classes and jobs that I had and my grade.

My friend and I had met during the second session, where I only had one class and was more relaxed. It was a great class, simply because it was an actual Professor who was teaching, he was amazing, and instead of the usual several hundreds of students that he taught, there was only 25 of us. It was definitely an advantage over taking it in the semester. Because of the small class size, I got to know a good number of my classmates pretty intimately, considering that it was only 6 weeks long. We met often for picnic lunches in the Gardens, trips to Downtown, cooking adventures in my apartment, and study groups that actually worked. I must say, I was really impressed with myself that session. I was being social, I excelled in that class, and I still had lots of sleep despite the fact that the class was 8am every morning.

But summer feels like a dream. It was rainy today, I was feeling miserable from sickness, and I'm sure my friend was busy thinking about the things he had to do today, because he was holding a lot of books. It was such a contrast from memories from the summer season, with balmy sunny days and open schedules. We talked a bit about our lives. I told him about my bout with the cold and he told me he was enjoying his classes. It was short, terse, and almost static. Then he said he needed to go to a meeting. I nodded and waved him off.

There's a point in second year where you realize that you're not a first year anymore. For me, it was when I realized that a lot of my friends from first year (and yes, I was still a first year over the summer...) were busy with their activities in which they were leaders. My friend was an Orientation leader, another friend is deeply involved in Student Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED), and another wants to get involved in drama and work with children. I am not involved in any of these activities nor are they particularly important to me. Yet, with the activities that are important to me, I am deeply involved. As we progress and become third years and fourth years, I'm sure that we will all only increase our commitments to these activities, and be more involved in them. At what point will we be too busy for each other?

These were the thoughts that I was mulling over after my encounter with my friend. Typical encounter on the Corner? Oh yes. Typical College of Arts and Science student? Hell yea.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

let it rain...

I swear Virginia is so mercurial when it comes to its weather. It honestly can not make up its mind. Sunny one day and rainy the next, the weather decides to fluctuate temperature as if it was a bipolar patient. I woke up today pretty early for a Saturday to start on my essay, looked out the window, and felt blah. It was one of those days with dramatic clouds on the skyline, threatening to shiver rain whenever the wind blew at whim. Not wanting to suffer the consequences if Virginia did decide to rain, I closed my window (with difficulty).

While microwaving my breakfast at 8:02, I continued to put on my blah face and not make eye contact with anyone in the kitchen. Of course, the girl next to me remarks on the weather. "It looks so epic..." she announced, pointing out the shivering tree line in the west. "Looks like an adventure!" declaimed her boyfriend as he stirred a pot of hot chocolate. I looked at my plate of freshly microwaved broccoli and cauliflower, while contemplating all the things I had to do today. Essay. How blah.

As I sit in my room, having only my desk light on, I am writing my essay. Oh yes, I am... but I'm also on facebook, checking my mail like it's my job, and eating extraordinary amounts of snacks. At times, my room is suddenly infused with light as the sun emerges from its coat of clouds and I am happily distracted by my window of a landscape outside. Everything gleams in its wetness and beckons. Other times, clouds cast their shadow and my room is pitched into darkness. Shadows lengthen as I am sitting in my room.

Today was the football game against Georgia Tech. I know because despite my shut window, I could hear cries and moans of hundreds of anguished football fans. My guess is that we lost today. After a certain point in the day, the weather decided to accommodate by drizzling on the crowds of orange and blue people slowly walking past. The rain splattered against my window.

It is 3:24pm and I have not finished my essay.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Obama leading us astray?

I hope the title raised a couple of eyebrows. In his New York Times opinion column, Stanley Fish called Obama the "object of unceasing attention," hence the name of his article: The Obama Show. It's true that whether it's criticism or adoration, Obama is the focus in the media. Mr. Fish makes a good point in that although opponents try to tackle Obama, Obama is a man who "takes shot after shot, and not only is he still standing, he’s still smiling." Despite criticisms, President Obama is still looming large.

Therefore, when I saw "Is Obama leading us astray?" in a blur of a flyer as I walked past, I did a double-take and read it again. Students United for Business (SUB), a very new organization on Grounds, was hosting a lecture by economics professor, Lee Coppock. It was about the Obama administration's handling of the economy, complete with a catchy title "Give Nothing a Chance: How to Get the Economy Moving Again." Having had Coppock in a previous class and curious about how he would justify his opinion, I decided to attend the lecture.

I must say... what is excellent about UVA and any respectable University are these types of lectures that engage all listeners to participate and create dialogue. At UVA, I receive emails about lecturers from our own faculty and visiting renowned guests fairly often. Speakers are a crucial component of this system, because excellent speakers invoke questions and opinions in the audience, sparking further dialogue. A good speaker also has a clearly stated thesis, significant evidence to back up the claim, and comfortable public speaking skills.

Professor Coppock certainly is a winner in all three. He is an excellent public speaker, comfortably lecturing to over 1000 students in the spring semester. In the last night's lecture, Professor Coppock cracked in-law jokes, made analogies to athletes and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, and made allusions to his "several dozens of children." He also was able to state his claim clearly. He believes that the economic situation was misdiagnosed, and therefore the "solution" of pumping money into the economy through tax rebates (Bush) or a stimulus package (Obama) has no effect, except for increasing our deficit into the highest peacetime deficit of all time (almost $2 TRILLION). Finally, his claim that this economic crisis is just a natural condition exacerbated by poor decisions by the Federal Reserve and the US government is backed with solid graphs, statistics, and examples.

His solution? Instead of increasing the number of dollar bills in the system, which could eventually lead to run away inflation, fixing the bank system to effectively utilize currently available money is a better solution. This elucidated his originally far-fetched solution of "doing nothing."

No stimulus package, true, but no back-breaking taxes either.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Grandma... what large shoes you have!

Thank you for the great (and amazingly vague) introduction.

Hello everyone! Thank you for continuing to read the UVA student's blog. I will definitely try to fill the large shoes of my predecessor. To tease you with a little more information, I would describe myself as a little "cray cray." For those of you not familiar with this awesome lingo, it is simply a more interesting way of saying crazy. I've lived 19 years without finding an adjective that succinctly describes me, but finally has enlightened me. What this leads to is a person who hosts spontaneous dinner parties in her room, a person who tends to devote a little more time to activities on Grounds than sleep, and a person who loves college (ahem, UVA).

Want to hear more? I look forward to sharing my UVA experiences with you and I'm sure you're excited to hear from a crazy person too.

Monday, October 19, 2009


the next UVA student blogger! It was quite tough to choose amongst all the applicants, and I was surprised by the large amount of apps I got. In the end, I went for diversity of experience and the the vision that the applicant had for the blog. I'll keep her identity secret until she chooses to reveal it, but our mystery new person is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences.

I know, real illuminating eh? I'll still pop in from time to time to chime in, you haven't seen the last of me!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a miasma of conversations...

I've just spent the past 10 days wrapping up three midterms, one case, 10 interviews, and a plethora of company events. At this point, I will happily, and I do mean happily, shake anyone who says that fourth year is easy. :D

Nah, it's alright. Just a lot to do. I'm in my house for six hours a day -- to sleep. This is what I get for throwing myself into ten billion things. Note to the wise: don't have three executive positions AND a job through the school your fourth year. That kind of kills you slightly when you're interviewing for tons of jobs. Thankfully, one position ended today and one more will end in a month. (I'm having a slight problem letting go though, I feel all my organizations are my babies! :D)

This weekend's UVA parent's weekend -- aka traffic is more horrendous than usual because of all the parents coming into town. Student organizations usually put forth a ton of effort this weekend and have many cultural showcases. I participated in Culturefest this year, a showcase in which all the minority groups on Grounds come together to perform. I... was in the highly embarrassing dances that the Taiwanese Student Association put on, almost, just almost too embarrassed to perform. For those of you from Taiwan, we danced to 青春不留白 and 你是我的花朵. Yeah...

Tomorrow my peer mentoring org (PAFN) is holding a kickball tournament for two families in the organization, time to work off some calories!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

honor code? what bloody honor?

But before the delightful weekend I laid out below... I endured a personal violation of the honor code that was very distressing for me. Upon concluding all my classes for the day, I swung by my mailbox to pick up my tax textbook. My mailbox? Was empty. Absolutely blippin' empty.

Someone had stolen my textbook.

I was beyond furious, it was close to $200! I'd put it in my mailbox because I hadn't wanted to lug it around Grounds all day when I only needed it in the morning. After my high faith in the honor system, I was appalled that someone had stolen my book.

But alright, to be fair it might not have been a UVA student. We do have lots of strangers walking through the buildings, part of the curse of having an open school campus. But still, I was very upset and stalked through the hallways for a bit. The only consolation I have? To the thief who stole my book, guess what, you can't sell it to the bookstore for money. My tax class changes textbooks every year. Hah.

fall breakin' it!

The last weekend and first half of this week was UVA's Reading Days, or termed Fall Break by students. I find it rare actually that anyone ever actually spends the whole time studying, most people go home instead. *shrug*

I love having a car this year, because I took two friends up to DC for three days. Before we got there though, we went to the Virginia State Fair first (anyone go there?). It was actually the first time I'd been to a state fair, so I was pretty excited. Can we say cheddar nuggets anyone? Possibly my favorite food there. The fair was huge, apart from walking around and going on rides, we also watched pig racing and a demolition derby. Both of those were firsts for me, and really exciting! Especially in the demolition derby, it dragged on where one small, zippy car was trying to ram a big truck. There were many, many close calls until the truck finally t-boned, then rammed the small car's engine. (And then he promptly committed suicide by running the front of his car into the small one... of which I still don't understand).

Pig racing was hilarious (and I was ridiculously excited for it). Pigs are surprisingly fast! Although the the grossly overweight Oriental pigs that came at the end were... as expected, beyond slow.

I hadn't expected to have such a good time at the state fair, it almost makes me sad that I'd like to head to a big city like New York after graduation. Meh well, maybe I'll end up with a job in NOVA and be able to go to events like these all the time.