Wednesday, January 14, 2009

so about that project...

I swear, every time I mentioned school I talked about last semester's final project. Here's what happened.

For those of you joining the UVa blog for the first time, I won't repeat everything -- please go back a few pages for my older posts, but the question posed to us was: should Rolls-Royce develop a military trainer engine or a civilian turboprop engine? My group's answer was...

Neither. We rejected both projects, and suggested an entirely new one.

It's my understanding from the professors that no one's done this in the history of comm school projects, so to say my group was.. entertaining would be quite an understatement. And as soon as our decision spread like wildfire through the comm school (because one of my group members let it slip.. *coughcough*, we became the talk of the building. 

To save you guys the big 70 page paper or whatever it was, my group suggested nanotechnology, and I'll leave my lovably vague answer at that. I'd like to focus more on the presentation itself. Remember when I said Rolls-Royce sent a whole fleet of executives and we were a bit intimidated? Welladay.

First off, I'd have to say that our presentation was very polished, and our professors and the executives agreed. We were up until 2 am the day off practicing, and got back at 7 am to practice some more. So we had the jokes, the opening lines, and the transitions down pat. We actually spent a bit of time arguing how much science of the nanotechnology (and alternative fuels) we should put into our slides, but still got commented that we put too much science in. 

We opened with the quote "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". (I have a magnet of that on my fridge now, one of my group members gave it to me today as a belated Christmas present of sorts. We've just vested so much of our lives in this project.. =P ). From there on we knocked down the two projects they gave us in quick order, and then launched into the meat of our presentation. 

We actually focused a lot on nanotechnology and alternative fuels, probably more than we wanted to. In part, we wanted to give them a jolt. After all, these executives had been listening to the same presentations for the past two days. We wanted to give them something different. And we were certainly that. After we ended, with a completely black slide that had the words Rolls Royce. Making the Difference. slowly fade in (my idea by the way! I'm still so proud of it, haha.), the executives gave us a breather in saying we were very bold, and then pulled on the boxing gloves.

We definitely got grilled hard, but I'm proud of my teammates and how they stepped up to the challenge. Our guy in charge of oil talked in so many circles that my own head was spinning at the end, but the person who asked the question seemed quite impressed. It was definitely an experience, some parts of which I'm not sure I'd like to remember, but hey, it's all part of comm school, and college academics in general.

So with that, I promise that's the last I'll grouse about this project. And ahh yes, I'm well aware that with this post, it's probably very easy to guess who I am. Although I've tried to not let too many obvious details about me slip (I'd like to do some reveal type thing when I graduate! =D ), there's only one group in my block, and only so many girls. My fellow classmates in the comm school, have fun guessing!

oh these first days of class..

Spring semester officially began yesterday, and with it comes all the goodness of the first days of class, agonizing over class spots, and the horrible realization that you have homework again.

I talked about signing up for class and the first day of class quite a bit at the beginning of the fall semester, so let's talk about something different today, the return, and leaving, of many friends.

The start of a new semester signals people returning from study abroad, or going to study abroad. I had a teary send off meal for one of my sorority sisters as she takes a break from the comm school and takes some classes in Denmark. Denmark! Lucky her, I'm quite jealous. Not so jealous of the high living expenses, but very envious that she gets to travel to Europe and experience another culture. Another one of my sorority sisters left for Spain last weekend. I believe she's a Spanish major, and where better to get good Spanish practice than in the country itself?

My comm school block has also been decimated and 10 (that's 1/3 of my class!) people have left to go study abroad. I think most people went to the Denmark program as that's the school that the comm school mostly partners with in the spring. I do know of a few programs in Asia, such as Hong Kong or Beijing. Especially with China's economy on the rise (well, it may be on the frizz a bit not), it would be such an exciting semester to experience the happenings of an economy so often in the news.

The sister that went to Spain was my next door neighbor in the sorority house, and her spot has been filled with another sister that came back from Denmark (it's a popular program). We had a fun afternoon discussing all the food she tasted there and how ridiculous it was for the minimum price of a shirt to be $80. Whew! O_O

Study abroad in general at UVa is pretty popular. If I remember correctly from last summer as a summer guide.. 1/3 of UVa students study abroad at some time or another in their college career. Our most awesome President Casteen wants to raise that to 80% by the year 2020 though. He's put in place a lot of programs and initiatives to help with this goal. The nice thing for out of staters is that you don't pay UVa tuition for that semester, you pay whatever tuition the college you'll be travelling to has. So, it could be much cheaper to study abroad for a semester than to stay on Grounds.

But if you ever do come for a campus visit, make sure to ask about Semester at Sea. One of my friends came back from that, and I'm going to have lunch with him later this week so I'll be sure to pump him for details for another post.