Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Three. Two. One. Poof!

So currently I am taking 19 credits. At the College of Liberal Arts and Science (CLAS, Arts & Sciences, or just simply the College), the maximum is 17. To go over, you'd need to course action into classes and perhaps get permission. I haven't quite gotten to that point yet, because I haven't "officially" signed up for my major seminar. I know I'll get into it, so why signing up just yet?

I guess you're next wondering why I am taking 19 credits.
  • The economic answer might be that I want to maximize the benefit of spending over $10,000 on tuition alone, and because it is a sunk cost, I might as well as max out on credits (and go a little over?).
  • The psychological answer might have something to do with the incentives of the classes themselves and how they are all so individually interesting.
  • A fourth year might tell me that it is because I want to have an easy fourth year and take as many classes now as possible.
  • A third year might tell me that it is because of the realization that there are only three semesters worth of classes that are left and I want to take as many classes that I want to take before leaving college (forever).
  • A second year might gape at me. Oh, you'll understand soon enough.
  • A first year might tell me it's leftovers of my overachieving self from high school kicking in for a final spurt.
  • A baby might cry at me.
They're all right.

Listen people, I'm feeling the time crunch. Why do the years speed up after first year? My fourth year friends are graduating and planning to buy balloons similar to this. The more ridiculous, the better. And I will say from the two graduations I've attended before, that there are some hilarious ones! Think four people holding 2, 0, 1, and 0 balloons. Think a host of sea animal balloons. Think sorority girls getting all the same pink balloons... and the same dress... and the same shoes.. well, you get the idea anyway! When college kids are talking about buying balloons in mass, it's either someone's birthday, a revival of prom, or graduation. One of these days, I am going to buy a balloon just for the heck of it, tie it to my wrist, and wear it to class. Then I'll let it go and look like this.

The way I deal with frustrations is to make a statement against it. (See earlier balloon case one more time.) In any case, taking 19 credits also might be my way of saying I'm not leaving college after three more semesters. See? I'm immersing myself in college-ness. Classes! Learning! Fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Driving to Richmond

I've been in Virginia for three years now and I haven't visited much of it. In fact, I joke around that the international exchange students see more of the US in a semester than I have in a childhood. Chicago? Nope. Las Vegas? Nope. Seattle? Nope. Austin? Nope. Savannah? Nope.

So I say with pride RICHMOND! Here I come!

Given I never saw Albany in my nine years of living in NY and there was a certain disdain with going "upstate" in NY, which to some city residents meant fifteen minutes north. However, I feel like Richmond can offer something more to the average tourist than Albany did. At least it has the distinction of historical significance. First, in 1610 with visitors from the famous Jamestown. Then in 1775 Patrick Henry gave his "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech (summed up even more succinctly as LIBERTY! OR DEATH!). Perhaps the apex of its urban career was when Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America. Apparently the White House of the Confederacy still in tact for curious visitors.

My friend needs to go to Richmond for his GMAT test and I am driving Zipcar. Do YOU know of any thing to do in Richmond?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Internship Dilemma: To check that or to not?

Since January 3rd, I've been interning at Charlottesville Community Design Center (CCDC). It honestly has been the ideal internship. I am gaining design experience by designing a promotional brochure for CCDC, which will be sent to potential donors, volunteers, and board members. Mandy Burbage, my supervisor, has been heavenly, laid back, and very supportive. CCDC is large, airy, and quite beautiful. I have loads of freedom to design, research, and check facebook (for inspiration, of course!).

As a prime member of the multi-tasking generation of Millenials, I've also been searching for summer internships, updating my resume, coding my personal website, checking my online banking account, replying back to hosts of emails, adding contacts on LinkedIn, experimenting with Photoshop, and teaching myself PHP. Did I mention that I also check facebook at least five times a day? Casually, of course.

Here I am at one of the best (unpaid) internships I could ask for, and yet I am still doing other things. While I feel a little guilty about all of the things mentioned above, as I feel now, I would still feel extremely indignant if facebook was blocked, my computer was monitored, and my screen was public. This amazes me. Where is my work ethic and where am I drawing the line? (A rhetorical, academic question, I assure you.)

If I look at it from a productivity point of view, I am being extremely productive. I am not watching movies online during work, or worse, watching porn. I am doing things that will have tangible benefits later on (preferably money). However, if I look at it from the point of view of traditional work ethics, my behavior could be seen as unethical. Of course, another factor to it is that I am not being paid for my time.

Yet, I also want to point out the accessibility of all of the earlier mentioned things. Checking my HSBC bank account only takes three minutes, and searching for summer internships does not involve a trip to an office but a click away. There are hosts of sites that teach PHP, one of which is PHP 101, and they save me a trip to the library. So while it may seem like I am spending all of my time doing other work, in actuality it might add up to only a couple of hours. This goes back to the point of productivity. I know that designing might take only a couple of days out of the two weeks that I am interning. So if I am doing other things because I can quickly, am I... bored?

Truthfully I do not know the answer to all of these questions, but I do know that other Millenials are facing the same questions and that as a generation, we will have a serious influence on the way the workforce works. Or perhaps we'll quietly assimilate to it. Who knows?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

5 Leadership Predictions for 2011

2010 is quickly coming to a close, and fortunately, so is the recession that left most leaders fearing for the future of their organizations. As you think about strategies for managing your team(s) in 2011, here are some predictions to keep in mind:

Retention over layoffs

For the better part of two years, you had to focus on how to let some employees go, and now it's going to be the other way around. The recessionary workplace has been a difficult one, and many employees will attempt to leave as soon as they feel it's getting better out there. You will need to take extra care to motivate your team members and provide real-time recognition and perks.

Re-emergence of innovation as a priority

While everyone was just trying to keep their heads above water, the emphasis on creating and delivering superior new products and services rather went by the wayside. Expect leaders at the highest echelons of your organization to start "talking the talk" and think about ways to "walk the walk."

Equal opportunity leadership development

Nearly every organization now has four generations in the ranks, and waiting to train an employee until he is in a position to manage others is no longer desirable or practical. The Millennial generation (born 1980-95). especially, requires early and ongoing leadership development training as they prepare to take on retiring Boomers' responsibilities at a younger age.

A brave new world of day-to-day supervision

Managing employees and their projects keeps getting more complex, as global mobility and the number of virtual teams increases. As employees work out of their homes in record numbers, you will have to maintain a balance between micromanagement and neglect.

Social networking as a dominant recruiting strategy

Social networking will shift from being an unfunded add-on to a critical component of the recruiting mix. As a leader, you must ensure that everyone who has hiring responsibilities in your organization understands the best way to find, contact, and communicate with the most desirable candidates using social media.

This post was originally published on Intuit's Quickbase blog.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Blogger's Resolution

Before I get on with a blogger's resolution, let me first say:


A blogger really is but empty air blowing in a digital landscape without her subscribers, commentators, and readers! Thank you for a great almost-one year! I really enjoyed reading some of your comments and hope to do some more reader participation in the future. According to Google Analytics, with the exception of December 25th where only ONE dedicated person visited my blog, the year has been a good one. :) THANKS.

So my first resolution? You're reading it! I promise to dedicate more time to you!

My second resolution has been to read the news once a day. I subscribed to nytimes but filtered all of their emails into one folder that hasn't been checked in a while... so I'm going to read the Today's Paper over my Twining's Irish Breakfast tea and cereal every morning. The first headline for today was "G.O.P. Newcombers Set Out to Undo Obama Victories," by Jennifer Steinhauer and Robert Pear. The headline itself was sensational enough, but once they said, "Democrats, who in many cases looked on the law as a rabid beast best avoided in the fall elections, are reversing course," they lost me. Once Democrats are described as seeing laws as rabid beasts, I know that the end is near.

The third is to go running every morning during J-term. For those of you who aren't still at school in the middle of winter break and are instead at home like the sane person you are, it's J-term here. J-term is our snazzy two-syllable phrase for the 5 hour classes that meet daily. Of course those 5 hours don't include the time needed to do the homework and projects after class. The catchphrase on the website is

Intense. Rigorous. Focused. Unique. Engaging.

The font is a lot bigger here, but you get the gist. When you're doing J-term, expect to do nothing else. Happy winterbreak! Luckily I am not taking a J-term class, but merely being a J-term RA. Hence the time to be able to run.

Lastly, I plan on cooking a lot more. Dinner parties was a huge part of my social life last year, so I am going to revive them now. I also just discovered a food blogging site that has a massive following. The first article that I read was an interesting one, called "The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical." More term-paper-esque than whimsical blogging, this article surprised me with its solid writing, convincing points, and extensive research. The comments after this long article blew me away as well. Larikatz says, "Fascinating. You are right, people have to stop anthropomorphizing animals that we eat and take the time to learn how they work before they jump up and take causes. Thanks again."

Readers, the bar is set high.