Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Patriotic Post, I Promise

The Winter Olympic Closing Ceremonies are on TV, and I'm thus beginning the end of my extreme patriotism.

Canada beat the US in hockey this afternoon. It was sweet revenge after all the ribbing I took last week when we lost. Of course, staying true to my Canadian nature, I am avoiding the temptation to gloat to a few certain key people. I DID send an email back to the guy on my learning team who rubbed in the loss last week saying congratulations on the silver medal, though.

Speaking of which, if you are an American reading this, congrats on the silver!

Several other things are making me swelteringly proud of my country today.

1) We broke the record for most gold medals ever in the Winter Olympics. In 1976, USSR had 13. We finished with 14.

2) After the Olympic torch fiasco at the opening ceremonies, we chose to laugh it off and opened the closing ceremonies with a spoof.

3) While people DID watch the game down here in Charlottesville, most of my friends showed up minutes before it started. Back home, people were lining up outside the bars at 7:30 in the morning to get in and watch the game. Way to love hockey!

So, I'm not done with being patriotic, but I think that with the Olympics ending, I won't feel the same swell of pride and homesickness that have haunted me over the past two weeks. If you are up there in Canada, know that I wish I could be celebrating on the streets and spontaneously bursting into the anthem with you all!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Canada!!!

So, there are many things I could blog about. It's the last day of Q3, and all that stands between me and Barcelona is four exams and one DA class. Yesterday, I came across a really cool opportunity to satisfy class credit, help out the Haitian economy, and work with a successful local businessman.

But all of those things can wait (Q3, Barcelona Global Business Experience (GBE), Creative Capitalism class) in favour of blogging about the fact that my country totally rocks.

After losing an inconsequential game to the Americans in men's hockey on Sunday, I took a lot of verbal beating. People that I didn't know were sending me messages via Office Communicator to rub in the loss. All of that made last night's 7-3 beating of Russia that much sweeter.

Just for the record, I've been trying to be as nice as possible to my Russian friends, all of whom trash-talked me before the game.

To further amplify my sense of national pride, we won gold and silver in bob-sledding and have a guaranteed medal today in women's hockey.

I'd write more about why Canada is awesome, but my final class of Q3 is about to start!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Homesick... Where's the Hoser Hut?

In case you are living under a rock, you are probably aware that the Olympics are going on back in my home and native land.

Over the past few days, I've watched the opening ceremonies, watched Jennifer Heil lose the gold medal to an American in women's moguls, and celebrated Bilodeau's first gold on Canadian soil. I am currently sporting my official Olympic Hudson's Bay Company Canada hoodie.

This morning, I started planning a Canada vs. USA hockey game viewing which has morphed into a Canada-themed party. I've looked up Canada flags on Amazon and tried to figure out where I can buy cheese curds to make poutine.

If that wasn't enough to set me homesick, tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother featured a trip to Toronto, complete with a visit to Tim Horton's and a view of the pretty Canadian five dollar bill.

I think it's official... I'm homesick!

In the spirit of the day, check out the Molson Canadian rant.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! (And why I'm happy to be alone for this one and next)

One of my fellow bloggers posted a great piece about dating within the Darden bubble. As a balance to her piece, I wanted to write something for all those of you who find yourself putting your own flowers through the grocery check-out. (Oh, or am I the only one who buys myself flowers?)

Miss MBA did a great job of outlining some of the pitfalls of dating at Darden. I'll take some of hers and add a few of my own:
  • Lack of available men and women (though I disagree that most of the good girls are taken, since I've got some AMAZING single friends)
  • Hook-up culture (hint to the girls: hooking up with a guy most definitely does not mean he will pursue a relationship)
  • Lack of time
  • Darden Bubble Time Warp: you can know someone for a month, but due to the fact that you see them every single day and potentially spend hours and hours together, you feel like you've known them a year. This is great, but it can lead things to moving too fast and depriving you of the opportunity of seeing them over several seasons of life.
  • Incompatible life plans: It isn't always the case that you will meet someone who wants to end up in the same geographic location as you. Given this, a committed relationship is tough because it means that either someone will have to compromise, or you eventually break up. In fact, for many new Darden couples, the first big challenge is going to come over the summer when they are thrown into a mandatory long-distance relationship.

Given these challenges, I've heard that successful, long-term relationships are the exception rather than the rule at Darden (and B-school in general). Now, for a girl who was forced to buy her own flowers on Valentine's Day, this may be a depressing revelation. What do you mean, I'm going to be single for the next year and a half?

However, my strategy class has taught me well. When it comes to dating, I've done the environmental analysis. Given these facts, how can I best position myself for the future? Is it possible that this is not a challenge or something to be woeful about, but an opportunity?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Over the past little while (i.e. since my somewhat cynical blog post of a few days ago), I've learned to see this season of my life as an incredible opportunity. So here are the reasons why I'm glad that I will be single for the next little while.

  • When will I ever again be surrounded by so many amazing single women who are more focused on their careers than on dating and marriage? There are definitely relationships around here, but for the most part, there isn't pressure to find someone or have dating stories to bring to cocktail hour.
  • No pressure. I've accepted the fact that I'm going to be single, thus I do not have to worry about whether a guy seems interested or not. I don't need to feel like I need to go out and find a date for the upcoming SHE auction. I can go and look fabulous all on my own. (AND, most of my friends are also going stag, which builds on my previous point.)
  • This may come as a surprise, but I'm not perfect. I've realized that while I've got a strict list of qualities that any man I date must posess, I've given no thought to whether I'm good enough for that man. Having a distinct season of singleness will allow me to work through some of those things that will better prepare me to be a better girlfriend and wife.
  • Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility... Next year, when I start making decisions about where I'm going to live and what I'm going to do, all that will factor into those decisions is which companies will hire me and what I want to do. I won't be conflicted about how much to factor in my boyfriend, or feel upset that he isn't thinking about me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why I Love Darden

In honour of the Day at Darden event today, I figured I would share some of the things I love about Darden that have really hit home today.

  1. There has never been a more intense training for public speaking and being forced to back up your answers. This quarter especially, I really feel the pressure to speak confidently, without hesitation. I have always been used to trying to be somewhat tentative in order to build buy-in. This isn't always the best way to build communication. When I've stated an answer like a question in a few classes, I've had profs call me out on it. Now I'm learning to speak with certainty. I think it's a much needed skill. (And guess what, I can still use my old skills to build buy-in.)
  2. Today was a fun moment where everything came together. We used Decision Analysis (DA) in our strategy class. I love it when we've been dancing around concepts, and then you pull them up in another class, only to discover that after a few days of sneaky case-based learning, you actually know something new.
  3. Perhaps the most important part... And here's the honest, two-sided view of Darden... This week was horrible for me. Between a big group project paper due this afternoon, a full week of cases, several volunteer commitments, another paper coming up AND trying to get into the internship search, I had a brutal week. (Oh yeah, and my car is buried under three feet of snow. Yippee.) I was up until 1:30 several nights, despite usually being able to a strict bed-by-midnight policy. BUT, I have amazing friends down here. The community at Darden is so amazing.

So, those tips and tricks on transitioning to Darden are still coming. (Though I'm mostly planning on going back through my blog and borrowing old material, so if you can't wait, feel free to search my Darden posts!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Julie's Trinity

In honour of the upcoming Hallmark-created-hell-day that is approaching on Sunday, and a conversation during our blogger meeting about whether we, as bloggers, should be blogging about things such as dating at Darden, I would like to unveil my latest relationship theory: Julie's Trinity.

In our Global Economies and Markets (GEM) class, we learned about Mundell's Trinity, which is the economic law that a country can only achieve MAX two of the following objectives:

  • fixed exchange rate,
  • unlimited capital flows
  • independent monetary policy

Now, I would like to present to you... Julie's Trinity.

In interactions with guys, a girl can have MAX two of the following three things:

  • attention
  • physical intimacy
  • committed relationship

And, although one of my fellow bloggers did not want to put this in a blog post, I will warn all prospective female students that if the available dating pool is a consideration for you at any B-school, I would encourage you to instead check out the local scene or the affiliated law, medical or other graduate schools.

On a completely different note... I would like to wish a belated congratulations to all the first round admits to the Class of 2012! Stay tuned for a post on my tips for your transition to Darden.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snowmageddon 2010

As we came closer and closer to the weekend, the snow forecast grew from 6 inches to 40, and with each retelling, Snowmageddon became more and more epic.

The final snow accumulation, as per the National Weather Service, was 13 inches. Although I have no desire to brush off my car and drive anywhere, the roads have been kept clear, restaurants and grocery stores have been kept open, and yesterday's basketball game against Wake-Forest was played. (Although they gave all students free admission at the door, and discouraged people from driving in.)

The only thing I've missed out on this weekend due to cancellations was church this morning. I guess it's just as well, since my friend and I were debating yesterday about which of us would get stuck brushing the snow off our cars in the morning anyway.

Here are some pictures from the epic adventure that has been Snowmageddon 2010. The car in the last picture is not mine, but gives an idea of what the snow looks like. I think by that point, it was pretty much done falling. Today has dawned bright and sunny.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Life and Love and Why

For some time, I've debated about what kind of content to include on my blog. If you've been following along my blog since May, you may remember the post on Blog with an Identity Crisis.

Since becoming an official student blogger, and thus having most of the traffic coming to my blog through the Darden website, I've especially struggled with how comfortable I can be on posting thoughts on my faith. It's not that I am ashamed of my faith or anything, but I always feel like I need to make a disclaimer before I start writing.

So... I have started a new blog on thoughts on my faith throughout the remainder of my time at Darden. The blog is named after one of my favourite Switchfoot songs - Life and Love and Why. I'll have the posts streamed through one of the columns on the right.

This isn't to say that I will completely cut my faith out of this blog, but really overt thoughts on faith will be relegated to the other blog. Feel free to journey along over there.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Snow Days

One of the advantages of being a student is the ability to do tasks that are normally done when everyone else is doing them at times when everyone else is at work. Grocery shopping is one of the best examples of this. Weekday afternoons typically provide ample parking and small check-out lines.

In fact, there are very few times when weekday afternoons have crowded grocery stores (Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve pretty much sum it up). So, as I saw the snow starting to come down and recalled my previous experience with snow in Virginia (during which I just walked through the snow to the grocery store), I figured I would take a quick trip to pick up food so I would be able to simply hibernate should my car be buried under a foot of snow again.

I couldn't find a parking spot.

As someone who grew up with snow as a constant fact during the winter, the reaction of people down here to the snow is a bit of a culture shock for me. In fact, not to sound like your grandma telling woe-is-me tales, I can remember going out to start my car in -40 weather (-56 with windchill), driving to work while one lane of traffic was basically a snow drift, and running into the office. So, a dusting of snow and temperatures hovering around zero is nothing. But, as a dual degree student mentioned this morning, they only got a total of 3 or 4 inches of snow last year. So the fact that we are expecting 4 to 6 inches tonight is a big deal.

I'm hoping for a snow day tomorrow. I can't recall that I've ever had one.