Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The halfway point

Today marks the second day of the new module. 

Spring break went by really fast, and I didn't do half of what I wanted to. It was a lot work and catching up on things I had dropped to finish up for finals. Mainly professional linked projects, so it didn't feel like a break at all. Aside from my museum day.  Hello indoor rainforest. And cool aquarium. I got kissed by an abalone.

But what a final wrap up for Mod B!

Our mock ads
I remember thinking at the end of the last presentation how amazing it was to present an advertising campaign to agency representatives. My team and I did research, developed a concept around our findings, and then created a message. We also developed and presented a prototype, built a business plan around it. This is in addition to coming up with a PR campaign to prevent China from acquiring a company our client liked.

Our post mod karaoke night was much deserved.

And now it seems like Mod C is even more intense. I've only had the one class so far, and there's no team project, but the prof makes me feel like I've learned nothing the past six classes with all the information he packs into a lecture. Its overwhelming, this is the first time I've ever had to debrief with a classmate after a lecture, but so good to know. (Thought it's a little scary how he said he deals with more numbers as a salesman than he used to as an accountant.)

Alumni mentioned things really picked up in Mod C, but I never suspected it to be this extreme! Still, it's exciting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From the Redwood Forests

This past weekend was full of stuff, going out three times is a lot for little introvert me. But I'm glad I did it all. The best outing, hands down, was driving out to Big Basin.

A friend and I had the spontaneous decision to rent a car and go, only to not be able to fill up seats like we had hoped. But that's okay, my roomie hopped in the back seat and off we went!

Just the driving part was an adventure of itself - slowly getting used to it since I haven't done it regularly in years - because roads were twisty, uphill, and narrow. Still, in the little Kia we rented it was fun to hug the corners and wonder just how long a curve ran.

Redwood trail sign post at Big Basin park.The park was beautiful. I've always wanted to see the redwoods, and unlike Muir Woods near the city Big Basin has some old growth trees. That means these things are larger than those at Muir and that alone made it worth the almost two hour trip to me.

These trees are impressive, we never saw one all the way to the top, and I could easily fit in one. There are stories of frontier cabins being entirely built from one tree. I went around hugging several trees, just for the novelty. Sure, there are some outside of my apartment but they're no where near as wide as 50ft. Or 300 ft tall.

After three hours of hiking, up a to an ocean view and then back down, we headed to Santa Cruz twenty minutes away. I was blown away by the boardwalk - rollercoasters, carnival food, games. Downtown SF can get busy during lunch, but this was visually busy thanks to the lights and colors. Still, it was cool to see. I haven't been in any type of carnival setting for years, and while it was a bit overwhelming (but I'm getting used to dealing with that now) it was also a breathe of fresh air. Something new. Something different. 

We grabbed food and ate it on the beach and boy was that another novelty. I got some smiles from my travel mates as I wiggled my toes in the sand. My roomie's from Thailand, she sees sand all the time, but I couldn't help but touch it. 

Still waiting to see snow since my return.

I'm so glad we got out of the city, even for a day. SF is growing on me, it's true, but nothing refreshes you like a mentally stimulating trip into nature. Just getting away from what I see in a daily basis is nice and doing it with friends is amazing. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

CashFlow Adventure

My roomie has been talking about CashFlow for awhile, not the game so much as a weekly get together of it she was introduced to. She kept saying it was about business practices, I likened it to an advanced Monopoly, and finally went to a session last night.

It's not like Monopoly at all.

And...apparently CashFlow is a super famous game in the business world. As is the book (which is actually titled Rich Dad, Poor Dad and I'm sure a lot of you have heard of that). Silly me for not knowing this prior to showing up.

It was an interesting game for sure - you play with a balance sheet that gave me flashback to my accounting class. And as one player mentioned before we got started, it really is a simulation for life and the money flow of it. You start in the Rat Race, giving time for a monthly paycheck and waiting for opportunities to come your way. Opportunities like stock at a good price, foreclosed houses, limited partnership in a business. Slowly, slowly, you build up passive income to the point where it can pay for your expenses, and then you're in the fast lane! At which point, if you land on a gold mine most people think 'eh, why not?' and buy it.


We played in teams and that was interesting in and of itself. She was a bit...more risky then me. I was not ready to take out as many loans as we did, but things worked out. We didn't get to the fast lane by the end of the game (this group plays with a strict time limit - 3 hrs) but we were super close.

It was an interesting group of people. I wasn't the youngest, our host's daughter was there, and half of the people playing have a lot of investing under their belts already. Business owners, millionaires, life coaches, new investors, old investors.

This is a weekly thing the group has been playing for a year, a three hour game followed by a debrief of however long it takes, and there's a lot of talk about how this game has changed their thinking about real world investments and how well the real world is reflected in it.  All very interesting, and it's cool to see elements of what I'm learning reflected in both the game and the stories they tell.

I'm looking forward to the next time I can play. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Homecoming of a Sort

So, I've been back in San Francisco for roughly a week now.  And one of the odd things was walking back to class last Monday I realized I had missed it.

I mean, sorta. It wasn't like I was sitting around in Detroit missing the Bay, but once I was here I found myself giving the Ferry Building a fond look as I walked by. Which, honestly, was a surprise to me.  Because when I first got here, I pretty much hated the city.  It didn't click with me, despite people telling me I'd love it, and while the weather is certainly nice I feel like I could have the stuff I have here for cheaper elsewhere. There's nothing, well, special about SF in my mind to say this was a good city to live in.

But then of course, I have to leave and realize that yeah, okay, maybe I do like this little city. And my roomies who like to sit and talk, and teammates who can't help but smile every time I hiccup, and classes this Mod that are simply a~mazing.

What also struck me coming back, or maybe rather when I was loading the car to go to the airport, was that this is the first time I where I can't say when I'll be back.

In undergrad, it was for pretty much every holiday and break. And even when I went off to Ethiopia I knew that come August 2014 I'd be back in Detroit for a decent stretch. Then for grad school I knew I'd be back for Christmas, but now....now....

I honestly can't say. I'm not planning on flying out there for Easter. Or my March break. Or even, most likely, after graduation.  That, that was it. A side hug in the back hallway from my mom, my brother in the basement on the couch, my sister loading her own car, my dad giving me a hug before handing me my suitcase at the terminal.

Can you call someplace home, even internally and as one of two or three, if you may not see it for years? Is this that first step towards only seeing siblings every five years for family reunions? Will I now see my immediate family as often as I see cousins? I'm not sure I'm ready for that, I missed two years of us all home for school holidays. I already went a long time without seeing my family, it might be a little too soon to do that again. (Though granted, this time I can call them once a week, send texts every day. It makes a huge, huge difference). We didn't even take a family Christmas photo that I could have printed to stick on my wall.
Tried to find my most recent family photo, and all I could find was this of all the cousins in the summer of 2011. Man, people have gotten married since then.

Sometimes, often, being an adult super sucks. And is depressing. And well, makes me regret I said no playing that one night of cards, or didn't sneak into my sister's bed to snuggle with her, or see Yiayia one extra time.


I guess at this point, all I can do is go forward and make sure I take as big as steps as possible. If I'm far away, I better be happy and successful to make it worth it. Dean's List every mod, aggressive job searching, here I come!