Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Note on Professors

Okay, this week's blog I thought should be on the importance of choosing your professors, since y'all are going to get to do that soon. First, I'd urge you to talk to the second years about their experiences in different classes, but I would caution asking a lot of subjective questions. I know that everyone has their different ways of choosing professors, but I feel like a lot of people rely on other peoples' opinions or go to a website like Rate Your Professor. There are a few things wrong with this, some of which I've experienced first hand.

I did get to talk to some of the second years when I was choosing classes and found that a lot of their experiences were vastly different from mine with different professors. It became obvious to me that my goals in the program were different from others' goals. When people suggest professors, they're suggesting them based on their goals and experiences, but as we all know, history does not always repeat itself, especially with different players. I learned that asking questions about professors that are objective was the best way to evaluate my professor choices. Here's a few rules of thumb that I found worked for me:
  1. Know what you're looking for in grad school. If you're really focused on your grades and want to take less challenging courses in order to ensure a good GPA, professors are going to be harder to research. Some professors that were easy one year became more challenging the next. In addition, not everyone defines the word "easy" the same way. If you're looking to challenge yourself, then ask questions regarding work load, project types, etc. There's nothing wrong in either approach, it's just a matter of what you want to accomplish.
  2. Try to challenge yourself in the subjects that you want to pursue. I want to go into marketing when I get out of grad school. Not only will I be taking more marketing courses during my time at school, but I'm also looking to take teachers that I know will push me. I'm not saying that you have to take the most challenging teachers in every subject, just the ones that interest you the most.
  3. Try to find a professor that has a teaching style that meshes with your learning style. When researching professors, try to get a feel for the way their classes are structured. Some professors lecture for a full four hours; others have discussions and lecture; others have group projects in every single class. I learn best when the classes are interactive, so I try to find professors that aren't lecturers.

Professor selection is important, but remember that classes are only seven weeks long. Everything goes by so fast that there's rarely time to dwell on anything too long. It makes for a really interesting, fast-paced environment. It's great for people like me that get ADD after a few weeks of studying a single thing. There's no time to get bored. Before you know it, you've got midterms and then finals. And it's time to start again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's Been a Week...A Crazy One at That.

This past week has been a bit hectic. My best friend Lindsay and I made are first trek to a Los Angeles restaurant and blogged about it. We're really excited to share our amazing food escapades with everyone. I'll post a link soon, we're still trying to work out some kinks.

I have been trucking along at my internship. I began work on the performance index, once again. I was pretty sure it was finished, but alas, that is not the case. So it's back to the drawing board. I have a feeling that as soon as it is done, we'll get 2009 data and everything needs to be started over. Oh well. Anyways, beyond that I've been working on the financials project in between my work on the performance index. It's been a lot of number crunching, that's for sure. I'm not such a big fan. Or I am, but I need something creative to tide me over.

Sorry this is such a short post. Despite the craziness of the week, everything gets condensed into a few key projects for me. I'll try to post mid-week this week in order to better remember everything that went on.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The UN Gets Back to Me (I'm that Important)

When I fill out online forms or send an email to a generic email address, I never think that I will actually get a response. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the UN did, indeed, receive my email and wrote me an email back. As I mentioned last week, I was looking for definitions of an urban population in a number of countries. I wrote the UN an email asking if they knew the exact definitions for a number of countries that I was missing. Unfortunately, they did not. They did, however, give me links to the statistics websites for various governments. From there, I was able to direct my questions directly to the governments of the countries I was looking for. Again, I filled out a request for information form. We'll see if they get back to me :).

Beyond an email response from the UN, I worked on the final pieces of the performance index and began working on a financials pivot table. I also had the pleasure of taking a day trip up to beautiful Santa Barbara, where I lived for one year (I went to UCSB for a year, and promptly wasn't for me). I hadn't been up there in at least a year and had a wonderful day walking up and down State Street with Lindsay. We then went to one of our favorite restaurants, Piatti's for a linner (lunch/dinner). It was just as good as I remembered.

Anyways, I'm getting ready to go hiking in the lovely Malibu Canyon state park (I believe there's a state park for hiking, I should probably look it up).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Day, Another Week

It's been a long week... I'm really close to finishing up the performance index at my internship, so I'm really excited about that! The index has been through a number of different iterations, and I'm sincerely hoping it's the last. I got to do something I never thought I'd get to: I emailed the UN to ask them for a definition of what constitutes an "urban population." I'm waiting on them to get back to me (I have my doubts that they ever will). Basically, we're trying to get a feel for the volume of traffic to see various titles, and in order to do that we've focus on an urban population rather than the entire population for each country. We feel that the urban population is representative of movie-goers because rural dwellers have less access to theatres.

During my research, I found that each country has a different definition for what constitutes an "urban population." This caused some problems, because we needed definitions for each country. I managed to find they holy grail of urban population definitions in a UN document, but unfortunately, there were some major countries missing. I figure if the UN doesn't have definitions for these countries, they probably don't even exist.

After I'm finished with this performance index project, I will start working on 2009 financial data and creating pivot tables. Exciting!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I'm going to get back to it!