Student life a of full time employee aka what have I gotten myself into

September 27, 2015

6:52 pm

Student Life

Being a student is not easy, especially if you are working full-time.  I’ve started business school more than a year ago and I am on my third term now.  This term, I enrolled Principles of Financial Accounting and Quantitative Method for Decision Making.  This is quite a busy term for me, well it always has been ever since I enrolled in MBA but this time it’s a little bit harder, especially Quameth.  There’s just so much I need to do each week just for one subject alone.  This week I have the following deliverables:

Accounting:

2 case studies, one is assigned as our group’s oral presentation. Yesterday, after my Quameth class, I met with my Accounting group mates and work case 5 (for our oral presentation). We already worked out the computations and we only have to do our ACAs and recommendation.  We haven’t really finalized the whole paper but I am hoping we will by tomorrow afternoon.  We still don’t have the PowerPoint. We haven’t started on case 6 but I have already read it, it looked complicated. Well aren’t they all.  They are all due on Wednesday yay!!  This is my last bridging course. So next term will be so much tougher.

Quameth:

This is my first foundation course after two terms of taking bridging courses (an MBA student without a business undergraduate has to take 15 units of bridging/refresher courses) so yeah technically I am just starting the MBA program.  I recently told myself, welcome to the real world, I can feel the difference already.

I was initially intimidated to take Quameth, it sound so mathematically heavy, taking it together with an accounting subject is somewhat masochistic.  At first, I play around the schedules and my course flowchart.  Then realized that no matter what I do, at some point I have to take two “Math”  subjects in a term so I just told myself might as well do it now while the other subject is just a bridging course.  Quameth is not really computation intensive, we use a softwarte for computations.  We use quantitative methods to aid in decision making and so far I can still follow the “simple” equations and learned how to use QM for Windows software.   The hard part is all the requirements we have to deliver every week.  We have online class every other week, during online class, we are assigned either a case study or a business research with quameth application, aside from the paper which is the “easier” part, we have forums assigned for each group.  In these forums, a group will be assigned to critique the other group’s paper and will be graded based on the number of comments/posts and its relevance to the topic.  Now, this is the hard part, once you upload your group’s paper to the online classroom site, bloodbath will follow.  I know it’s an exaggeration but it’s a close description.  So far we had 2 online classes and the group assigned to critique our work were hard core inquisitors, they asked the hardest questions.  I would be at awe sometimes, they made me feel stupid at times, they dig so deep and you have to do your best to come out of that hole and deflect the blows.  That’s how intense quameth online class is.  In person, they are all seemed nice and harmless human beings, just like me.  In the virtual, we all become Attila the Hun.

The first online class was close to a nightmare.  We were assigned a case study on break-even analysis.  The computation part was easy, data were given and we knew the formula.  We are kind of lost on how to present the case, we don’t know the format or we thought so.  We didn’t know that there were guidelines uploaded in the online class site.   Once we uploaded our case, the other groups started annihilating us.  Yup, that’s how it felt, they were feral, attacking us on our weakest side.  Since we weren’t aware of the guidelines, we failed to include Alternative Courses of Action (stupid me, what’s a case study without an ACA?) and the ethical considerations.  In that moment I have realized that it’s hard to attack when you are busy defending yourself.  There were so many questions on our paper’s that all I can focus on is how to answer them especially the bigger/harder ones.  We were able to answer almost all their questions but weren’t really able to critique their paper.  I felt like a loser, that was my first foray into the wilds and was just thankful I got away alive.  I swore we’ll do better in the next forum and will critique the heck out of the other group’ paper and make a solid paper and read extensively on the topic to be ready for any inquiry.  I got a grade of 88 not bad but not great either.

By the second online class we are ready for war, well suited for the battlefield.  A day before the online class though, we were still finalizing our topic, I started the paper Friday afternoon and asked the rest of the group to improve what I did.  One of my pet peeves is cramming which happens a lot when you work with a group, so I just stay patient but firm.  I would remind them from time to time that we are running out of time and that I don’t want a repeat of the what happened in the previous forums.  If I have my choice I’d rather work alone, but I have to admit that working with groups made me learn more and a group is capable of making a better product than an individual.  I am kind of use to this whole group thing anyway and so far I haven’t get in a squabble with anyone.   Until Friday midnight final changes are still being done on our paper.   Saturday morning, 10 minutes before 9 am, I logged in to our forum, read the other groups paper and started forming my questions.   At exactly 9 am, I posted my first query, answered the other groups critique and this went on until 3pm, I was on fire.  Not question was left unanswered and also grilled the other group to my hearts content.  The online class is from 9:00 am Saturday to 11:00 pm Wednesday.  We had enough time to fire questions towards each group, the discussion was so intense, it made me feel so alive.  I was loving it, I never thought Quameth would be so fun!  I have learned so much from that experience.  I was forced to read more on the oil/gas companies risks because that was our topic and also looked deeper into the Coca Cola Enterprises sustainability plan since it was the other groups topic.  I kind of feel that the other group is evading some of questions but kept on peppering us with their queries which our group just kept on answering, so basically the forum was more focused on our case than theirs.  Well next I know what to do.  Our grades aren’t posted yet but I have a feeling I’ll get a really good one.

My deliverables for this week is quite a long list.

  1. Business Research using Game Theory for the online forum.
  2. Volunteer Exercise with a classmate. We were assigned our partner (one can choose a partner but I don’t know anyone in the class). Our last week’s assignment was kinda fuzzy I wasn’t sure if we answered it all correctly.
  3. Game (it’s actually a quiz). A part of our quiz is group work and we have to apply Game Theory techniques on the CPP-NPA/Government clash. I feel like a grown up, tackling a real life issue using theories.
  4. Project proposal. Our group has to submit our project proposal which we will present on a later date.

Wow, look at that.  Every item takes a lot of time and focus.   This is going to be long week for me and this is just my studies, add it up to my work load and this girl is really all work and no play.

All of these on top of my equally challenging job, I would sometimes find myself asking “what the heck have I gotten myself into?”

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I’ll Marry When I Want : A warrior’s cry against Child marriage

I’ve watched this TED talk video on my commute to the office.  Way to start my Monday, right?!  While the talk is somewhat depressing it it also very inspiring.

Banda read a poem her friend made before starting her speech.  It was very simple, it’s entitled I’ll Marry When I Want.   In the poem, the girl said she’ll marry when she want, no one can force her to.  She’ll marry when she want but not before she is well educated and all grown-up.

http://http://https://www.ted.com/talks/memory_banda_a_warrior_s_cry_against_child_marriage?language=en

Listening to Memory Banda’s talk about child marriage almost made me cry, the fact that I am in a public transport is the only thing that stopped those tears.  While I am enjoying my freedom, being able to chose the life that I want,  making decisions for my future, there are places in the world that are still trapped in their culture, even though that said culture is nothing short of a crime against humanity.  What prompt them to come up with this kind of tradition anyway? To condemn a girl to life that she has no control over, to a life of sexual and physical abuse, to a life of slavery.  I know I have no right to judge these people, that it is their culture, they are born into that lifestyle.

I can’t even wrap my wind around the fact that these girls are forced to attend a sexual initiation camp, where they to learn how to “please” a man. The community hires a man to have sex with all of the girls attending the camp.  I mean seriously? What kind of a mess up specie are they to come up with this kind of tradition?  A man paid to have sex with girls as young as a 9 year old? What kind of man gets sexually aroused by a 9 year old girl. I know that it is a part of their culture, for them that is totally moral and acceptable.

After attending those camps, some of the girls ended up pregnant while some of them have contracted sexually transmitted diseases.  It breaks my heart to know that there are place on this planet where a person is bound to a disgusting fate just because she happened to be a girl.

This kind of tradition only propagates poverty and ignorance.  You don’t educate girls, you force them to get married and pregnant at the very young age and this vicious cycles continues, so does the poor standard of life.

Banda’s own sister got pregnant during a sexual initiation, married twice and now have 3 children at the age of 17.   Banda escaped that tragic fate because she was living with an aunt who supported her resistance to early marriage and now a staunch advocate against child marriage.

When Banda was thirteen years old, she was told she’s a grown-up and supposed to go to the initiation camps and she refused.  Women in her community told her that she is stupid and stubborn, that she does not respect the tradition of their society.  But she is a tough girl, she knew where she is going, she knew what she wanted in life and clearly that it is not marriage and children at a very young age.

Everyday, ever since she refused to attend the camp, women would always tell that she’s all grown-up and would compare her to her sister who’s already a mother (seriously?! you want her to be jealous of her sister’s fate?!).  And she said something that really touched my heart “and those are the music that girls hear everyday when they  don’t do something that the community needs them to do”

It hurts more when a woman does not support another woman’s effort to  achieve gender equality.  It’s harder when women are the first ones to tell another woman that fighting for her right is nothing short of stupidity.  We, women, should stand together, to become a stronger force, to have a louder voice, so strong so loud, no one can ignore us.

Despite the what she has to go through and all the obstacles along her way, Banda didn’t falter, her determination didn’t waver.  She asked herself, What can I do to change something that has been happening for a very long time?  She encouraged girls to read and write, to remind themselves of what they have learned so far, to talk to each other about the troubles they are facing as young mothers.

They thought why not try to talk to their mothers and traditional leaders about the wrong things that being done to girls. Traditional leaders are so accustomed the old ways, a hard thing to change but a good thing to try.  And they tried and pushed so hard.  Their hard work didn’t go waste , their community leaders stood up for them and said that no girl has to be married before they reach eighteen.  That was just the beginning, they  also went to fight for the rights of girls in other communities.  They worked so hard to convince Parliament members to support the bill that will protect girls against child marriage

Earlier this year, the Parliament of Malawi adopted a law that, for the very first time, sets the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years old.  This law now protects girl from child marriage and forced sexual initiation.

Banda also said that though 18 years old is the legal age for marriage for most countries, we still hear cries of women and girls everyday.  “This is the high time where leaders honor commitment and keeping girls issues at heart.  Women are extra-ordinary, we can do more.  A law is not a law unless it was enforced.”

Banda reiterates that knowing that there is a law that will protect them, women will stand up and defend themselves. She call on male advocates to to jump in and support women issues.

Memory Banda inspires me.  She reminded me of the freedom that I enjoyed so much and take for granted sometimes.  Despite the harsh background and not so supportive community, she flourish and become a strong young woman. She fought not just for her right but for the rest of the girls in Malawi, what have I done so far?  Her story made me realized how petty some of my issues are and that I can do so much to make this world a better place in my own little ways.

http://http://https://www.ted.com/talks/memory_banda_a_warrior_s_cry_against_child_marriage?language=en

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/17/us-malawi-childmarriage-law-idUSKBN0LK1Z020150217

http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/malawi/

A Whole New World

It never gets old. I am in my third term and the feeling is still the same. Every time I attend a class, I become an entirely different person.  When in class, I am no longer concerned with things like how am I gonna help my family, or how I can fixed some issues at work, or how disappointed I am at some aspect of my life, or money issues.  I am entirely focused on the topic and suddenly I am reminded of the things that I don’t know and how hard I should be working on improving that.  In class, I am just another student, a student plague with reports, assignments and case analysis.

Worries of the outside world can’t get to me, it’s like I am inside a bubble.  I am in a classroom, I’ll think of nothing but topics that are being discussed. Graduate studies makes me feel young. I don’t know how to explain, it just did.  I know that taking Masters is not a walk in the park. There’s so much to do and you add it up to all the things a grown up has to take care of suddenly it sounds very exhausting right?  At times it is but most times I feel good studying.  When you are in the classroom, you are all equal, it doesn’t matter what field you are from or what undergrad you took or how much you are earning or whether you came from a rich family or not.  It kind of levels the field, you all have equal chance at excelling or failing and it amazes me.

Attending a class is like some sort of a therapy for me.  I am sick of all my responsibilities in life and in class you are given more but the difference is you are doing things because you wanted to.  No one required me to go to attend graduate school and I don’t need it to be employed.  I decided to pursue MBA because I want to and I guess that what makes all the difference.

As an MBA student, I feel like the future’s so bright, like I am just beginning to shape my future, it made me feel in charge.  Seeing new faces is also a breath of fresh air.  These people from different walks of life that you may not see again after the term ends will get to see a different side of you. You can be who you want to be without worrying about them having a pre-conceived notion of what are capable of doing.  They’ll just take you for who you are in the class.  I love meeting new people and connecting them in an intellectual level.  I love bouncing ideas off them and realize that I am kinda smart.  Most of them came from good schools with fancy undergraduates but I can discuss ideas with them just fine. I have no troubles keeping up with them. I am amazing. lol

I might be singing a different tune when deadlines are beating at my door but as of the moment I can proudly say that graduate studies is one of my favorite real life alternate universes.