Thursday, April 30, 2009


For a long time, I've been counting down the time until my big move to Virginia. Tonight was the first time that all the implications of leaving really set in.

It's ironic... Today one of the current Darden students posted a link to a YouTube video from Darden Follies entitled "Don't Make Me Leave Darden" on Twitter. (PS I am on Twitter... @missjoolz) I've had it stuck in my head ever since watching it and it feels very weird. It's gotten me to thinking about why I'm doing this whole MBA thing. I'm not a fool; I know the economy is terrible right now. The main reason for getting an MBA is to break into management consulting, and the job market is not going to make that an easy transition!

Then I went for a run this evening. As I was running through the river valley, I was thinking about what a great location I have. Everything here in Edmonton is so comfortable. I know where to find everything. I've lived here for nearly 18 years! I have a ton of connections here. As I was attempting to fall asleep tonight, I started thinking about the big good-bye party when I leave and how hard it will be to say goodbye to everyone. I pictured myself loading up my car and saying goodbye to my parents, and how much I will miss them. (I have to say that since my mom reads my blog... JUST KIDDING... I really will miss you.)

And Virginia is about as foreign as it can get for me while still being only one country away. For all the American television I've grown up around, there are still things that make Americans so very different... leaving shoes on in the house, miles and Fahrenheit, the Southern accent, different restaurant chains... and those are just the differences I can think of!

But for all the apprehensions I may be experiencing, I have no doubt it will be worth it. In the next two years, I will make lifelong friendships, develop a strong knowledge of the business world, experience a (slightly) different culture and meet people from other cultures, and network with people who also have a passion for social responsibility and bounce ideas off them so we can change the world. I don't think anyone ever shaped history by staying comfortable.

I just hope that the words from one of the choruses from "Don't Make Me Leave Darden" don't come back to haunt me in two years:

"I should have never left work; I feel like such a jerk."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Step...

Today I got my first US dollar chequing account set up. Not a big deal, but another step on the way to my MBA adventures in Virginia.

In other news, I'm still trying to wade through the muck of student loans and visas. Never before in my life have I wished that I had dual citizenship as much as I do now. Also, I am continually finding myself wishing that we were not in the midst of the worst recession of my life.

But what can you do? As I must continually remind myself, God is in control. If this is all supposed to work out, then it will. If it isn't, well, then no amount of stressing or worrying could change that fact. There are solutions, they are just not as ideal as I would hope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring has FINALLY Sprung!

Just a week ago, I was pessimistically musing to myself, "if April showers bring May flowers, then what do April flurries bring?"

Today, the sun has finally made it's triumphant entrance and I think it's safe to say that spring is finally here. The snow has melted at an unprecedented wait, and the roads and sidewalks are finally clear to walk on again. The sun was shining today, and rather than driving to do errands, I've started walking again!

The weather seems like a trivial thing to blog about, but this past winter seemed especially dreadful. I don't know if it was metaphorically influenced, but with all the stress of MBA applications, the winter just seemed long and arduous.

Though I have no idea where I will end up in a few years, both career-wise and geographically, there is a possibility that I've suffered through my last Edmonton winter. I think that's why this spring feels especially epic.

A few years ago, I was talking to a friend about something I was struggling with. She said that the thing I was struggling with was like winter. It's hard to see the end, but you know it's coming. I remember that conversation keenly, because we had it in April, and I had just gotten a sunburn from studying outside. No matter how frustrating or seemingly endless our struggle may be, there is hope. How appropriate that this spring breakthrough happened on Easter weekend.

Anyway, for anyone reading this and living on the northern hemisphere... enjoy your spring!

Monday, April 06, 2009

What Do You Want to Be Known For?

Perhaps it was the sermon at church last night, or maybe a timely conversation with a co-worker this morning, but the above question has been ringing in my mind. As my life is currently pre-occupied with the upcoming move to Virginia to get my MBA, the question is well-warranted.

When applying for MBA programs, you have to do a significant amount of introspection. For me, this part wasn't difficult. I've wanted to go into strategy consulting for a few years, eventually becoming an expert in strategy and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

There is a part of me that fears that I'll forget about CSR, and focus only on the part that comes easy. I joke a lot about how my life will be filled with Jimmy Choos (note: for those who don't know, Jimmy Choos are insanely fabulous shoes), but the reality is that if this is the only thing I'm living for, life will be quite empty.

Life needs to be about more than a "dream" job, a Central Park-facing apartment (yes, I know, in my dreams) and a closet full of Jimmy Choos. My heart has always been for the poor and the underprivileged. It seems irrational to think that after 27 years of working or volunteering as a champion for social justice that I'll just forget it all and chase my career. But I like having these occasional reminders that life is about more than "success" in the material sense. I hope they keep on coming...