Monthly Archives: January 2013

Networking Happens in the Oddest Places…

Want to hear one of the more pragmatic things that Cornell graduates have always recommended to me? Get to know as many people as you can during your college years…as they’ll serve as your professional network for life.

It may be hard to believe this at first, but I bet it rings true. Cornell has many ambitious, determined students who will go on to do great things, and if  you connect with them now, you never know when those contacts could come in handy.

So, how do you connect with these amazing people? Yes, forming friendships are a great way…but networking can also result from spontaneity and being open.

Cue the story:

Last Thursday, it was freezing and incredibly windy outside. It wasn’t just chilly…I’m talking about weather so cold that your Facebook newsfeed is filled with iPhone weather app screenshots with single digit numbers. Days like this, I’m not too thrilled that my classes are on the Ag quad, but I’m optimistic and make do.

As I was walking down Libe Slope in the snow, bundled up in a heavy coat and hat, I turned my head to face the opposite direction of the wind… just as a huge gust blew. As I did this, a woman 5 feet behind me did the exact same thing. We caught a look at each other and started laughing at the ridiculously cold weather, as well as our synchronized reactions to it. I learned quickly that she was from the south and hated the cold just as much as I do.

As we got to talking as we walked down the hill (more like yelling, since I had to be heard over loud howls of wind and a hood that covered my face), I learned we had a lot in common. She was a grad student studying a subject similar to mine, and had interests in economic policy–like myself. By the time we reached the bottom of the hill and had to part directions, I had told her of my D.C. plans for next fall, and she said that because she worked in D.C. for a bit, she could get me an internship at a place that might interest me. Then, she proceeded to give me her contact information.

I was, of course, appreciative, and also amused by the funny scenario. Who would’ve guessed that, as a student bundled up trying to avoid the wind on a snowy slope, I’d bump into someone that could offer me an internship?

If this is how the business world works, I guess I’m ready for it…

Back!

Well, round 2 of junior year is here, and with it comes a new set of opportunities, experiences…and challenges. Here are a few updates from my life since I moved back to Ithaca last week:

  • My classes this semester will probably be the hardest of my undergrad time at Cornell. AEM Finance is widely known to be incredibly rigorous; combine that with Business Law and 3 other courses, and you have a recipe for a few late nights in Mann.
  • I am also a teaching assistant for a large business course, which entails grading papers, doing administrative work, and holding office hours. Perhaps I’ll fill you in on the experience later once I have more to say; it’s only been the first week of class. As of now, though, it’s been fun and interesting being in an authoritative position.
  • Remember when I had a 10:10 class practically at the absurdly far-away Vet School? Well, I have economics there this semester, so that may be a topic of complaint (though this time, I smartened up and bought a bus pass).
  • Spring semester junior year is the time to finalize internships for the summer ahead! With interviews, job applications and numerous possibilities in front of me, that may bring a good deal of excitement and stress.
  • Oh, and I also want to have a social life too, and stay involved with the extracurriculars that have been fun over the years (such as ‘working’ shows with the Program Board).

Okay, so you can treat this post as a preview of what’s to come in the next few months. With two courses under my belt from winter break, I’m still energized and ready for a fun and productive semester. Feel free to get in touch!

Cornell Online Courses (or: “How I’ve Gotten Away with Attending Cornell Lectures in my Pajamas”)

Well, this has been a productive winter break!

Because I’m trying to complete the AEM major in 3 semesters so I can spend a semester in Washington, I’ve been busy this break taking two required classes: public speaking at a local college, and AEM 3230: Managerial Accounting online.

Let me tell you something: taking an online class through Cornell, that counts for credit and goes into my GPA, has been a pretty unique experience. If you’re as knowledgable as I was 3 weeks ago, and had no idea how a 3000-level business course could be taught online, here’s the low-down:

  • On December 26th, I was enrolled into the course’s BlackBoard site, and was given access to a PDF syllabus that broke down suggested textbook reading assignments over the 3 week duration of the course. As long as you are meeting homework and quiz deadlines (see the third bullet), you can move about at your own pace.
  • The Professor has been using video presentation software to lecture us on the material using PowerPoints, in a manner presumably no different than she would at the front of a lecture hall. See here:
  • Grades are given on virtual homework sets and quizzes. Both of these grade components are through McGraw Hill’s Connect software, and you input your answers online. It’s great to get instant feedback on if you’re understanding the material, but sometimes the software isn’t so nice if you’re .01 off from the right answer (namely, it marks it completely wrong).
  • There’s a course discussion board, where you can chat with fellow classmates about the course material and ask questions.
  • There is also an in-person, traditional final administered once I get back to Ithaca in a week or two.

A few people have asked me to write about my thoughts regarding online learning, once I’ve gotten into the hang of the course. I’ll just come out and say that if you’re a motivated student, it can be a great, effective experience. It’s great being able to pause a lecture to let material “soak in” before hitting play on the video again. It’s great reading the virtual discussion boards and seeing my fellow classmates help each other out, with the conversations logged so everyone can benefit from them. And lastly, it’s great getting instant feedback on my homework. Do I miss the in-person classroom experience at all? Ehh, a little. Sometimes a quick conceptual clarification might be easier face-to-face. But overall, the professor has been phenomenal and it’s been a very positive experience.

As we enter this virtual age, does this signal the end of higher education as we know it? (Have I had to brave these upstate NY winters for nothing?)