Monday, June 29, 2009

How Does It Happen?

Today Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

It really makes me wonder. How does one man end up committing the largest Ponzi scheme in history?

Now, this may be a controversial opinion, but I don't believe that people are naturally good or well-intentioned. (Probably better for a different blog post, but I know that my default mode is more selfish, and I need to overcome that... I'm not naive enough to think I'm the only one who struggles with that!) However, I don't understand how someone can be depraved enough to swindle the kind of money that Bernie Madoff swindled from his investors. After all, a Ponzi scheme is not something you fall into accidentally because you need to cover up a mistake. A Ponzi scheme, where nothing is invested, is sheer fraud, in its entirety.

It's funny how our priorities can become so disjointed. We start to feel the invincibility of getting away with our actions, and we just go further and further down the road, until one day we get caught and suddenly find it's time to face the consequences.

My dad always said that if one of us girls was caught shoplifting, he wouldn't come and post bail right away. He'd let us suffer the legal consequences. Because I never did shoplift, this always made sense to me. Sometimes the best form of grace is getting caught early on. After all, if Madoff had been caught early, he probably would have been out of jail right now and enjoying the last days of his life with his wife. Instead, he gets to be the really bad guy everyone's heard of in jail.

It's easy to look at the Madoff story and think "I would never do that." But I think that these behaviours sneak up on us. There has been a lot of discussion among the MBA community about oaths. I don't know what I think about how effective that is, but I do know that integrity is absolutely the most essential character trait for a businessperson. Allowing cracks in integrity is never a good plan. If it's tempting to lie, cheat or steal to cover up a mistake or make a little extra money, then there is nothing to stop a big lie. My dad tells a joke that illustrates this point...

A man walks into a bar and sits down next to a woman. "Would you sleep with me for $1,000,000?" He asks. "Sure!" She replies. "Would you sleep with me for $50?" He asks. "What kind of woman do you think I am?" "Well, we've already established that. Now we're just negotiating the price."

Character is character. It is only developed after years and years of right decisions, but can be torn down by one wrong one. It's easy to look at what Madoff did and say, "that would never be me." But if we allow decisions into our lives that compromise our character, then we could easily be drawn down that path.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Virtual Coach

The last few blog posts have more routine and newsy than thought-provoking and introspective, but nothing that's been on my mind lately has seemed particularly blog-worthy. Instead I am wrapped up in all of the details that come with saying goodbye and moving and pursuing a slightly different career progression.

There is an organization called MBA JumpStart that offers a program pre-MBA called "Virtual Coach." As it seemed like a great opportunity, I hopped on board, and while sometimes it felt difficult to make time for the assignments, it's been a great learning experience. They've helped me with my resume, given me interview tips, and asked questions about my network and my brand. Just now, I turned in my second last assignment, in which I had to examine a recent business decision made by a company/CEO and discuss whether I think it was the right decision or the wrong decision. (In case you're curious, I dicussed the launch of Microsoft's new search engine, Bing.) The last assignment is to re-do my resume for an updated resume score. As I was quite disappointed with my first score (I had never really seen a consulting resume before...), it will be good to have the opportunity to have it re-evaluated.

In addition to all of the other assignments, I had to pick out 5 companies that I wanted to work for, and Virtual Coach is looking into finding contacts as those companies for me! As someone who is coming from a small, privately-owned company, whose contacts are virtually all also from small, privately-owned companies, this is a huge potential boost for me. After all, finding a job is based so closely on the ability to network.

So, I suppose this is a plug for Virtual Coach. MBA JumpStart also has a conference in the middle of July (and they pay your expenses if you are accepted!), but as I have other commitments, I am unable to go. If you are looking to start your MBA program in 2010, and especially if you are a career changer, I highly recommend the program.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Only Three More Weeks? Really?

Today I got to sleep in a few minutes. I got to sleep in because I didn't need to eat breakfast at home. I didn't need to eat breakfast at home because my Company* had gotten us a catered breakfast. These breakfasts aren't unusual. Just 8 days after I started, I was treated to my first Company breakfast to celebrate 25 years of operations. They gave everyone a little portable DVD player. Everyone included me and the six other people who started the same day I started.

Today's breakfast was special because they were announcing the latest step in an initiative that I was largely responsible for well over a year ago. I can't take full credit, but I organized all the different thoughts and conversations about making the Company a better place to work, put the people together to make things happen, and just this morning, the partners rolled out the latest initiative.

Just three hours after the great announcement, and still full from breakfast, I went down to the back parking lot where the first of the summer BBQ lunches was being served. After downing some fruits, veggies and a hot dog, I tossed around a football with my co-workers and boss. And just two hours after that, I stood in the lunchroom while everyone else ate birthday cake. (As delicious as the chocolate mousse cake looked, I just couldn't bring myself to eat even a sliver.)

After taking a "cake break," I returned to the boardroom where I was meeting with the IT guy about some of the improvements that our ERP system can bring to various processes. As we talked, I realized how little time I have left. The last two years that I've been at the Company, there have been a lot of changes and improvements. At times, I felt like I had to fight tooth and nail to get people on board, but now I can see how the incremental improvements have really added up. It really does make me sad that I won't be around to roll out many of the changes we talked about today, but I really think I will stay in touch with the Company to see how everything turns out.

This post is probably three weeks premature, but after feeling completely SPOILED today, I was feeling sappy and sentimental about the last two years of work. I've learned and grown so much. I'm really going to miss my coworkers. (Side note: Someone asked me at lunch today whether I was going to miss them, and we joked around a lot, but it's true... I really will miss you! Even though none of you read my blog, I don't think...) In the years since I've graduated my job, I've transitioned many times between school and work (summer jobs and the 2-year hiatus from university to work in children's ministry before going into undergrad business), and it's always tough. I get really used to seeing my coworkers every day, and over time you build trust and rapport and get to the point where you really talk about everything. Although, I suppose that having sections and learning teams next year AND being in a relatively small class, I will still get to experience that.

As I ramble on... I do still have three weeks left. I guess I can leave some of the reflecting until then!

*Note: This is one of those areas in which I struggle with anonymity. Do I say the name of my company? Or do I just keep it as Company? For now, I will keep it relatively private. But if you are looking for somewhere to work in Edmonton, and are an engineer of the electrical variety, let me know and I'll hook you up with our HR guy...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Check, Check, Check

After working all of last weekend, a lot of the items on my Outlook to-do list turned red on account of being past their due dates. But today, I finished the last of my pre-enrollment modules, so I am well on the way to having everything done by the end of June.

Sadly, since it has been 10 years since I've done high school math, I actually had to take part of the math test twice. It's funny how we attempt to save time by not reviewing the material, then have to take it again. I hope that my score on the assessment doesn't have any material effect on my grades, since it wasn't my best showing. What can I say? I'm still in summer mode. I'm glad for two weeks of orientation to get myself back in study mode.

The other BIG thing on the list is selling my car. I consider myself a decent negotiator, but I really don't have weeks to spend playing games and haggling over the price. I'm thinking of pricing my car just over the base minimum that I plan on selling it for. Any car selling experts out there with some advice?

Well, I'm exhausted. The countdown is 15 days left of work before vacation. Next week will be really nice, with just two days of work, Canada Day, another two days of work, and then the weekend. In three weeks, when I finish work, it will be time to rush hardcore into vacation. As it's been over a year since I've had a real vacation (don't know if you would count travelling to MBA programs as a vacation, though it was a fun trip!), I'm definitely looking forward to some extended time off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Internet Self

Today I got another friend request on Facebook from a future classmate. I always feel mixed about accepting these requests. On one hand, it's nice to develop somewhat of a rapport with my classmates, since they will be the people I spend all my time with next year. On the other hand, it feels weird to give them a glimpse of my life now, before our experiences all merge. There have been a few people that I've exchanged emails with or followed on Twitter, but it always feels like the Facebook friend request gives them access to all my photos and notes and identity. Not that I assume everyone is going to pore over my profile in detail... it's just weird that they CAN.

Despite not really having anything to hide, I do tend to keep my profile very private. (Yeah, right, nothing to hide, you say? Seriously... my mom's on Facebook with complete access to everything posted by me or about me...) It just comes down to controlling who has what information about me. I remember I went to a party a few years ago, and I met this girl for the first time, and she commented on pictures I had previously posted. Since that time, I changed my settings so only friends could see anything. I guess you just never know who's going to tag a picture and put a misleading caption on it, or make a comment that is a private joke that could totally throw someone else off.

Since I'm finishing up at my job (18 days, but who's counting? Yikes... so much to do in that time!), I'm very aware that it will not be long before internship searching and another job hunt begin. While I wouldn't expect that every potential future employer would Google me or look me up on Facebook, I definitely know that it's possible. As a result, I do search my name regularly to see what shows up. (Met a fellow blogger who shares my name in the process!) So far, I haven't found anything I'm ashamed of, but nothing particularly astonishing either.

Anyway... just thought I'd throw this out there for a little discussion, perhaps. How much of your identity do you reveal online through public forms? How private is your Facebook profile? Are you ever worried what recruiters/future classmates may find?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last night as I was attempting to purge even further the amount of stuff I have, I came across a box full of letters that I had once deemed important enough to keep. As I started reading them, I was brought back to so many memories. There were encouragement notes, cards with kind messages in them, notes written during a class and finally, letters written from friends when I went off to Bible College, since there were actually people who didn't have regular email access ten years ago.

It's funny how times have changed. I can stay in regular contact with friends in China, Argentina, Tanzania and Europe now through email and Facebook.

But there's something sad about the lack of letters these days. I couldn't quite bring myself to throw out the old letters. Instead I scanned them and saved them on my computer. Even though some of those words were written 12 years ago, it still warms my heart to read a thoughtfully written message of encouragement.

So, let's bring back the art of the letter. The nice thing is that it doesn't have to be frequent or lengthy. Just some kind, thoughtful, handwritten words can go a long way. After all, I've felt they were important enough to save for over a decade, moving through several houses. In fact, if I can issue a challenge to you as you read this, it would be to think of someone who has touched your life in some small way, and write them a letter to tell them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Suburban Sunset

My original plan was to blog about anonymity, identity, social networking and the Internet, but I looked out my window and saw this view, so I figured all of that can wait. In the meantime, you can read my fellow blogger's musings about the subject. (And the accompanying comments!)
My future self is jealous of my current self for getting to see this every evening.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's the perfect evening. After a few rather hot, humid days, tonight the rain poured down and cooled everything off. As I prepare for bed, I've opened the window to get the air going and the smell of rain has wafted in. The croaking of frogs, a sound that I have quickly gotten used to in the few short weeks I've been here, reigns persistent, punctuated only by the occasional sound of a bug succumbing to the zapper on my neighbour's deck. The breeze from outside is welcome, making my room comfortably cool so I can snuggle under my duvet.

And I am at peace.

For those of you who have just "tuned in" to my blog, I feel as though I need to preface this next section with a warning... My faith is very important to me. So a lot of times, I interweave normal, everyday events with what others consider spiritual. And I recognize that many people see faith differently than me, so when I do that, just bear with me. :-)

Anyway, after being stressed last night with all the details of a cross-border move, a friend on Facebook reminded me that I just need to breathe and let God do the rest. It's funny, because that's what he told me throughout the MBA application process. (Yes, I stressed a lot. If you have gone through it, you understand. If you are just starting, I know your pain, but trust me, it's worth it. And if you haven't done it at all, have compassion on those that have!)

With the way the doors have opened, I really feel as though God is leading me down this path. It's an unsettling time to be leaving a stable job to invest in a significant education, knowing that hiring is down. But all I really need to do is take one step at a time, and trust that I'm not going to end up filing for bankruptcy protection or begging for food on the street. (And hey, if I do, well, it will be character building.) When I really learn to trust God's plan, I'm reminded that the bumps and hurdles that we face in life generally put us in a better spot. I still remember the day I didn't get an invitation to interview at what I thought was my dream B-school. All the invitations came out on one earth-shattering day. But a good friend reminded me to just trust God's plan, and ultimately, I think Darden is a much better fit.

So, I will make lists of what needs to be done. (As per my friends' suggestions!) Then I will do the things on the lists. And, in just over 6 weeks(!), I will confidently stroll into the next phase of my life, trusting that God has a plan, even when I can't see it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


With just 22 days of work left, my departure date from Edmonton is getting closer, and I am starting to stress out a little! Yes, details are falling into place. Just this week I have set up the final of my American bank accounts so I can easily transfer money from my Canadian account to an American one that will let me use debit (if that's what they call it down there) and write cheques and stuff. (No, I will never spell it "checks." Checking is what you do when you put your bag into the airline's hands for a flight.)

Anyway, the reality of the big move is starting to set in. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be more excited about this adventure. But then there's the part of me that enjoys being close to family (just this evening, my sister and I went on a nice bike ride) and will definitely miss my friends. Other than people that I've met online and exchanged emails and Twitter feeds with, I know no one. There is not one single person that will be in Charlottesville that I have met in person. (Oh, except the couple my mom and I had dinner with on the train back in October... note to self: email them!) Everyone that I've met in the process has been amazing, though, and I know that shortly after arriving, I will feel like I am in good company.

It's probably rational to feel this way. This next step of my life is a big step that's going to change everything. I've been planning it for a really long time... Since October 2007, really, when I drove down to Calgary for an HBS info session. And I've been waiting for it for a while... Last July, I decided that even if I didn't get into any schools, I was going to find a job somewhere other than Edmonton. But now everything's coming quickly, and it feels like I spent too much time hoping time would pass quickly and not enough enjoying the blessings at my fingertips.

Well, 6 and a half weeks until the big move. I'm really excited, but feel as though I have a lot of stuff to do and people to see in the meantime.

EDIT: I should add that I am not discounting the people I've met through various social networking sites! I'm very excited about meeting all of them; they've been amazing. ALSO...

Another source of stress is that I've decided to sell my Civic and buy my parents' Acura since it's a bit bigger, and able to transport more stuff down to C'ville with me. And here's a shameless plug... If you live in Edmonton, you should buy my Civic, because it's totally awesome.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Playing With Macro

My sister loves taking pictures with the macro setting on her camera. Since we have the same camera, I've been trying to figure out how to do the same. We celebrated Father's Day early and had a picnic. Since my sister is living in Germany, she wasn't there, so we figured we'd take some macro pictures in her honour.

This picture was taken as a joke, obviously, but it's kind of grown on me.

Someone suggested this picture because it isn't obvious what it is, and it's also grown on me.

Raspberries are the most delicious food on the planet. I really like how this one turned out.

And finally, some lilacs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time to Relax

It doesn't take much reading of this blog to realize that I'm quite excited about the next step in this crazy journey that is my life.

In just over 7 weeks, I'll be packing all my posessions into my little Civic and driving down to Charlottesville, Virginia. But sitting on the patio at Earl's today with some good friends from undergrad, I realized that 7 weeks is not going to be nearly enough time to relax and spend time with the people I love here in Edmonton.

So, as someone who is intensely goal-driven, I'm setting a new goal: knock everything off my Darden to-do list by the end of June. July is going to be a busy month. Friends and family are coming home from abroad. I'm heading to Iowa for a wedding. And, oh yeah, I'm still working through to the middle of July. Only 5 weeks left...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Information Overload?

Sometimes I wonder if we cram too much stuff into our heads. Two of the books I have read lately (The Black Swan and The 4-Hour Work Week) have suggested eliminating news from our daily intake. After reading these, it's gotten me to thinking.

Every morning, I set my alarm for 6:21. This allows me to hit snooze and wake up just in time for the 6:30 news broadcast on the radio. I blare the radio again at 7:30 as I am getting ready, just so I can catch the news. Then, I will often go into the office a few minutes late because I am sitting in my car listening to the 8:00 news.

Once I get my computer turned on, Google willingly hands me everything I need to know. I am supposed to keep up with no less than 6 publications (The Economist, The Financial Times, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes) for an economics class in first semester. Rather than trying to read each of them, I've put the feeds into my Google RSS Feed Reader. This, along with a more general news stream, and such great blogs as Freakonomics keep me informed of everything I need to know. And if I'm feeling an information defecit, I need only log on to Twitter to see what people are discussing. If I don't know what they are referencing, good old Google is there at my fingertips to tell me what I need to know.


It's a lot of information to take in. And yet, I'm addicted to it. Part of it is the desire to be able to discuss situations intelligently with others. (I remember Blagojevich coming up when I was at Darden for my interview. Since this wasn't front page news in Canada, I was so grateful it had been discussed in the Freakonomics blog so I knew what my fellow interviewees were talking about!) Part of it is wanting to synthesize what is going on in the world so I can see what direction the economy is headed. (Which is exactly why Taleb discourages reading the news in The Black Swan) And part of it, I must admit, is my ADD. Sit and concentrate on creating a report for an hour? No way... like shiny objects, the news headlines grab my attention as they scroll past on my reader.

I'm contemplating a mini news fast. Just a day of not listening for it, not watching it go by on my feed reader, and not googling every phrase that I don't understand. I am deeply passionate about knowledge, but I think that I need to start controlling how I synthesize it before I go crazy!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Why I Love Darden: The Prologue

A few things over the past few days have completed affirmed my decision to head off to Darden in August. This post may be premature, but I think this reflection can still be good.

A few weeks ago, there was a discussion in the Darden Class of 2011 Facebook group regarding the best option for cell phone plans. I posted a question about whether anyone had information regarding calling plans/text messages to Canada. A week ago, one of the current students who is from Canada posted his advice about calling plans. Since I had a few other Canada-specific questions (i.e. do I need to register my car in Virginia?), I sent him a message asking if I could ask him some questions. My intent was to just send one or two questions and he could write back some quick answers.

Of course he was willing to answer my questions. But he didn't need for me to email them, he just offered to call me. So last night he called, and being wary of his time, I tried to make my questions quick, and focussed on questions about being a Canadian at Darden. Instead, he kept asking if I had any more questions, and we had a good conversation about all things Darden. He even offered to go to Best Buy with me to get a cell phone, since they took a long time to figure it out when he went last year!

And, as great as this is, it's not even remotely an anomaly. I have found absolutely every Darden student I've come in contact with to be absolutely generous with their time. And, oh yeah, they are all incredibly friendly people. There are a number of current / recently graduated / future Darden students on Twitter, and if I have a question, I just post it in my status, and it gets answered very quickly. Ditto that for the Facebook group, and even student blogs.

The Darden Dean, Bob Bruner, is also on Twitter. He posts his blog updates to Twitter, and every time I read them, I get excited about going to a school that is genuinely focused on ethics and integrity. This latest outbreak of excitement is based on a blog posting that was reposted on Forbes.

Anyway... I have already been trying to pay this abundance of assistance forward as future applicants have been messaging me for advice on the application process in general. Hopefully I can get more involved in helping future students next year. Maybe I'll volunteer as a student host, or join the admissions committee or something. I already feel compelled to give back!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Black Swan - First Thoughts

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb has been on my reading list, and actually my book shelf, for quite some time. After reading an article a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal about how Taleb's hedge fund is betting on hyperinflation, I decided it would be the next book I read.*

The Black Swan explores "the impact of the highly improbable." Taleb argues that history and the significant events that have shaped our world have been black swans. No one could see that they were going to happen (except in hindsight) and they had a huge impact.

Thus far, I have only read the intro, but it brings up some interesting points and already I am finding takeaways. One suggestion made in the intro is that we should be less focused on trying to predict what will happen and more focused on trying to figure out how to react to what happens.

I have had some exposure to this line of thinking with business continuity planning. We've considered what effect certain "shocks" would have on our business. (i.e. loss of access to building, failed IT systems, etc.) Then we've come up with a plan to counter these effects. (Finding suppliers to rent equipment from until we can replace it, having an IT server stored offsite, etc.) Though at one point, I brainstormed possible shocks (fire, theft, flooding, snowed in), the more important thing was considering which operations would be affected by shocks.

This kind of thinking surfaced in a conversation that I had with someone a few months ago. (Warning: the following idea is only half-baked and may be offensive. Please try to consider the big picture of what I am saying!) He said that we have been putting so much energy into trying to stop global warming when there is still a good possibility that global warming is naturally caused (i.e. recurring cycle in the earth's atmosphere). While I absolutely think that we need to focus on sustainability and minimizing our impact on the earth, I also think that we need to consider what impact a "warmer earth" will have. We seem to be hedging our bets on global warming being entirely human caused, and putting our focus on stopping our impact. BUT, this is a risky bet. What if we can maintain complete carbon neutrality, but the earth still warms? Will we be prepared to deal with that? Maybe, just maybe, we should focus on sustainability separately than we are dealing with global warming. (Of course, that said, I am not a scientist. But I could organize and manage some scientists to look at dealing with global warming.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting further into this book. I have about ten more that I want to read before school starts, in addition to the one I have to read for school. Oh, I'm going to miss my free time...

*I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea for a book club I'm in, and I really enjoyed it. It's amazing to see what the tenacity and perseverance of one man can accomplish. Of course, as a side note, I also can see how my business skills can bring a world of improvement to the not-for-profit sector, but we'll see how that plays out in the next few years.

High School Reunion: The Aftermath

So as I mentioned a few days ago, my high school reunion was tonight. It was definitely not what I was expecting! For some reason, I had always imagined high school reunions to be filled with small talk at the punch bowl about where you ended up in life. In truth, I didn't get to brag to anyone about my fabulous accomplishments. I found the people I had been friends with, and through the magic of Facebook, we all had a reasonable idea of what we were up to. We picked up just where we left off ten years ago (actually, really, less than that!), sat through the program, then skipped the "after-party" for our own party at a nearby restaurant.

It's really fun being ten years older and still sharing all the memories. We are all in the professional stages of our lives - finished undergrad and working in professional jobs and/or pursuing graduate studies. None of us imagined we would be where we are when we left high school, but we're all satisfied with the direction life has gone. In some ways, it felt like we were the same and yet so very different. We've maintained our personalities, but have ten years more of life experience and maturity. (Though it seems that 10 years didn't help the maturity level of some of our classmates... though alcohol may have played a role in some of that behaviour. ;-) )

It will be interesting to see where we are in another 15 years.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What I'll Miss About Edmonton

Several of my fellow classmates-to-be at Darden have done blog posts on what they will miss from where they live now. As I am currently attempting to settle into my temporary home (difficult since it is occupied by the stuff that belongs to my sister living in Germany), and starting to realize just how quickly the weeks are zipping by, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect. I also think it is important since I am really excited about the next chapter of my life, but I also need to make sure that I am fully here for the next 8 weeks and 2 days.
  • Let's get the obvious out of the way: free time and a pay cheque. Full-time study at the most intense first year MBA program doesn't really create either of those in abundance. I am most going to miss having a whole free evening that I can get in a run, catch up on email, watch my favourite TV show, read a book AND talk to good friends on the phone.
  • Snow at Christmas: I love the snow in December, and while C'ville DOES get snow, it doesn't generally stick around long. (Disclaimer: I will not miss snow on the May long weekend.)
  • Not just friends, but friends with whom I have a long history. I love that my friends know me and all my quirks, which buttons to push (and not push!), and even the fact that I always bring a shrimp ring whenever bringing an appetizer is required. There's something so comforting about being with people who already know the gist of you. You can just hang out and be yourself. That said, I'm wondering which parts of me to "re-invent". You know... maybe I'll be the girl who always brings carrot sticks to parties next year. I will also miss my friends individually, each for different reasons, which I could probably write several blogs about, but I won't. Just know that I am very thankful for Skype, and for the promises you've made to come visit!
  • Family. I've got one sister who loves to travel and live exciting places, so we've got long-distance sisterhood down. The rest of my family has always been nearby, and I'll miss seeing them regularly. Family is something you always take for granted, but realize how important when you are far away. I'll miss the good laughs, board games and just general support.
  • Knowing my way around the city. I've been driving in Edmonton for nearly 12 years, and I pretty much know where everything is, what the best way is to get there and when to be in which lane.
  • River Valley... Edmonton has a gorgeous river valley! I don't think C'ville has a river at all.
  • My church. It has the BEST music that I've ever experienced at a church, and I'm keeping my expectations for church music in C'ville relatively low.

Okay, so I could try and write down more Edmonton-specific things, but the truth is that what has made Edmonton special over the years has been people more than places or perks. The Edmonton things I will probably discover more as I live in C'ville. (Though I could add anything "big city" to the list: nice movie theatres, abundance of shopping, etc.)

Monday, June 01, 2009

High School Reunion

This Saturday is my ten-year high school reunion.

It's hard to believe that high school was ten years ago. I know that a lot of people found high school to be a difficult time, but I was not one of those people. For me, junior high was abolutely horrible, and high school was like this oasis of awesomeness, fun and good relationships. It's weird to think that I'll be seeing old classmates, and I think all of them that knew me will be surprised at where I've ended up.

17-year-old me would definitely be surprised at what 27-year-old me is like. First of all, 17-me would not be able to handle knowing that 27-me is not only single, but plans to remain that way. 17-me was planning on getting married at 24. 17-me would also find it really surprising that not only did I end up in business, but that I am pursuing my MBA... in Virginia of all places! 17-me knew only that I was going to Bible College for a year. Any plans beyond that were more centered around building a family and having kids before 30. It's funny what girls come up with when we haven't really identified our skills and passions. :-)

17-me was a lot more zealous. I'm still passionate about my faith, but I live it in a much less in-your-face fashion. I am ashamed to admit that 17-me even had an altercation with my CALM (Career and Life Management) teacher about how a certain movie was inappropriate. 27-me would be completely embarassed to be with someone who did that, much less BE that person.

And now that we've turned that corner... I do appreciate that 17-me was so hardcore and legalistic (at times) about her faith. While it would be a shame to still be like that, I definitely appreciated that while 17-me wasn't perfect, she never turned down the drugs/alcohol path. I learned to drink alcohol in a much more responsible manner when I was of legal age. I haven't had to worry about alcoholism or nicotine addiction. (Of course, not that everyone who experiments with these things in high school goes down that path; most don't. BUT, it wasn't an issue at all for me.) There are also other good choices that 17-me made in high school that 27-me really appreciates.

One of these is learning to serve. I had a youth pastor in high school who dragged us off to Mexico to build houses and to the inner city to visit homeless men and off to camp to play with kids living in poverty and broken homes. 17-me was quick to get involved in everything, and those values have been deeply instilled in 27-me. In fact, 17-me would have been surprised to discover that 27-me found that a career in business could still satisfy that need to change the world... and to maybe do so more effectively than without it.

Anyway... I am interested to see how Saturday turns out. I've never been to a reunion, and I have no idea who will be there, though I am anxiously hounding my friends on Facebook to come.