Thursday, March 6, 2008


The thing that really bothers me about my school is its reputation. Not of high academic standards and expectations. Not of quality education.

It's the University of Spoiled Children.

MBAs don't exactly have a good reputation. They're money-grubbing, dishonest (surveys show that something like 70% of MBA students cheat on tests), and represent "evil corporate America." And I'd have to agree. There's a very small number of people in my program that I'd call friends. Which is surprising, because I always thought it was a stereotype.

But for some reason, MBA candidates feel like they're especially deserving. (And the faculty dedicates some time to facilitating this attitude.) Coming to campus is a nightmare, because apparently a USC license plate cover and a BMW/Audi/Mercedes (in that order) exempts one from traffic rules. Students are primed to expect an average $100,000 salary, but not have to look for a job. In fact, they say, the average would be higher, but it includes people who work overseas where the wage rates are typically lower, and those who work for non-profits. The people that I'm friendly with are the few who don't corner me in class or in the hallways to try to weasel a job opportunity or sleep with me (also surprising - sure, my program is only 27% female, but I'd say 90% of them are there for a degree and not a husband).

Normally I'm not the type to feel inferior because of social class or perceived wealth, but it's been really hard the past couple of years.

When I first moved out to California, and got my first job, it was sort of a disappointment. I mean, most schools prime their students with ideas that a college degree will almost automatically guarantee you a good, decent-paying job. Being out in the real world, and talking to a lot of people, I think we've all discovered that the real hard work starts after graduation.

But all of my job moves have been upward, and I'm able to live comfortably within my means. And yet when I'm at school I'm painfully aware that my clothes/shoes/purses are not designer labels (and are, in fact, from the Limited, Express, and Gap, but from TJ Maxx), I drive a terribly old car, rent an apartment in questionable neighborhood, and likely make the least in my class discounting those who aren't employed. I can't even begin to wonder how many dollars worth of automobiles park in the university lot, or the value of engagement rings of that third of my class.

I'm obviously attached to my car, and I always thought I dressed reasonably well. I'm not extravagant, and honestly, some of those designer purses? Do you really need to carry around a suitcase worth of stuff covered in an unattractive logo? I've gotten my own jobs, without referrals or family/friend help, and established myself pretty well. But now, it's time to buy a new car, and while I'd like something nicer than a Civic (Nissan Z350), it's far out of my league (Mitsubishi Eclispe). Buying a house in southern California is tough, but I'd never be able to if not for dual income. And most people know weddings are expensive, but few know just how much, even for a relatively small, simpler affair.

I've always lived by asking for little, but expecting even less. Lately that "less" feels way out of reach. Who would have ever thought that the basics (and the occasional luxury, like Starbucks or Disneyland) was too much to ask for?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Sigh. I didn't want to do it. I thought it'd be a pain.

But I've jumped on the Google reader bandwagon.

So far I've added my usual blogs and websites, but I see you can also add flickr and myspace accounts, as well as a lot of other websites that I'm sure I read but can't think of off the top of my head. (My blog should be available for feeds, if you're interested.)

Oh Google, why do you take over my life? I've effectively switched to the calendar, use the notebook for recipes, gift ideas, and inspirational wedding pictures, and of course use my (oft stolen) email & chat. Now you're managing all of my favorite sites (save for one blog) for free???

Ah, you do know the way to a girl's heart!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Well, here's where I stand so far on the monster pre-Japan to do list:

  • Bought some flat black shoes. I ended up with the ones from Payless. The sizing was so bizarre, and they were comfortable for most of the day, but they started to rub by my toes. When I got home they'd chewed off my right heel! Luckily I kind of expected it, and bought little shoe-liner sock things.
  • Finished my extra-hard spreadsheet homework.
  • Ditched class for the first time, ever. My friends were leaving, and the wireless was down, and I wasn't really enthused about listening to a "course review" of three topics. I feel bad, but it was nice to come home.
  • Met with the professor & my group via phone. Argh! It's pretty simple - we're creating a report on the global flat-panel TV market.
  • Registered for Summer session. My second-to-last semester of grad school! The final schedule I ended up with is Consumer Behavior and Corporate Financial Strategy. I am decidedly NOT looking forward to having class from 6-10 p.m.
  • Bought a travel neck pillow and vacuum-less vacuum bags. Both on emphatic recommendation.
  • I'm already mentally planning my wardrobe for the trip. And I'm going to look fabulous.
Now that it's Wednesday, and I've accomplished about half of my original list, here's what's left:
  • Catch up on business law reading. I have the feeling this will be my in-flight entertainment.
  • Look up the deal on Tokyo Disney. I might have someone talked in to going with me!
  • Still trying to work through all the drama at work. Interesting to see just how that turns out...
  • Trip. Trip trip trip. After that, hopefully life will be back to normal!
  • Midterm next Tuesday.
  • Midterm the first Thursday I return (again, in-flight entertainment...)
  • My first 30th and 1st birthday parties; oh how I wish I could fit in both. :-(
  • Set up an appointment with our potential reception site, hopefully this Saturday. Is it a bad sign that it always seems to take them three days to respond?
And on I go!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Happiness is watching the Office with Andy, blogging, and eating bagel chips & muenster with reckless abandon.


When a whole Saturday is sucked up by school, I always feel like I was robbed of a day off. Here's what I accomplished this weekend:


  • Work, with a long discussion with my replacement.
  • Brought home flowers and a homemade tag for Andy for Leap day.
  • Did "tough" yoga and studied before Andy came home.
  • Taco Bell for dinner.
  • More studying, but this time mostly with my face on the book. Not exactly A-student commitment.
  • Up early, since I wasn't even really sure when my exam started. A text from my friend said 8:30 - I'm glad I did! I walked in right as they started passing out exams.
  • Extra credit answer: Biiru, onegai shimasu.
  • The exam was over at 10, but class drug on right up until 4:30 (and they didn't pass out plane tickets until then).
  • My favorite session of the day? Cookie session, when they serve gourmet brownies & cakes in between afternoon sessions.
  • Traffic on the way home, because the 110 carpool lane was shut down for filming. Ah, LA.
  • Came home to finished laundry. I'm in love.
  • "Easy" yoga, but with 2.5 lb. leg weights. Suddenly, not so easy - but I can't wait to build up and try it with "tough" yoga.
  • Dinner across the street at Daphne's: Chicken & Gyro family pack.
  • A double white russian put me under the table while we watched the Office, and I actually curled up and fell asleep in my chair.
  • I confess. I'm all schooled-out. I don't even really know what time I got up, but I felt a lot less pressure knowing that Saturday was over.
  • We made breakfast together! I love that.
  • Ran some errands across the street. Payless didn't have the shoes I wanted in my proper size, even though I was prepared to pay $23 for shoes I don't even know that I really want. We got Andy some new pants from Ross and Old Navy. Old Navy was another disappointment for me; they had the same dress the Gap had last year, but I didn't want to pay $35 for it a few weeks ago. Now, they don't have my size ... again! I'll never learn. We finished up with a trip to Sam's for more detergent.
  • Came home and worked on some homework. I should say, as best I could. At this point, burnout is sort of an epic understatement.
  • Listened to the domestic disturbance under, or somewhere very near, our apartment. It ended with someone driving off.
  • Ran about 2.7 miles with Andy. It was good for both of us, even though neither of us wanted to go. Plus, more quality time!
  • Made beef & broccoli with rice noodles for dinner.
  • More homework and emailing, and some more Office watching.
So, quite a bit done, but a lot more to accomplish this week.