Free at last, free at last! Thank Augsburg College, I’m free at last!

Tonight was my final class in Augsburg’s MBA program. It’s all over. I’m done. Now I’ll have a degree coming in the mail sometime soon that I can add to the collection that’s already resting against my bedroom wall.

Well, technically, I’m not entirely done: I have to write a couple two-page papers for Applied Managerial Economics that need to be done by tomorrow, so once the clock chimes 6:00PM, it’s officially all over. No more teachers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks. Yes, I wrote teacher twice—it seems appropriate under the circumstances. (I don’t recall whether I’ve written about my Econ professor in here, but I’ll just leave it as “I don’t like his attitude and don’t think he was a good teacher.”)

Class started with an hour-long final exam, after which, hey, there was nothing else really keeping us there. One or two people left, but there was a final group presentation that some classmates needed to make and most people were polite enough to stay. Finally, the professor taught us the short, short version of macroeconomics. It took about twenty minutes. And that was it. (That was probably for the best, given that I’d had minimal amounts of sleep last night and was already doing the tired head bob.)

It all feels really anticlimactic at the moment, which I guess is understandable. I only had night classes once a week and didn’t do my homework on a constant basis. I was doing it, but usually at the last minute. Maybe it’ll sink in on Sunday when I can watch football all day and not have to worry about any schoolwork, showering and shaving and driving into the city for class on Monday… maybe.

In the meantime, I know I need to work on those papers, but I also know I need sleep. Badly. I’ve got a bunch of empty cans of Mountain Dew next to my desk that I’d drink while studying and studying had a tendency to last until the wee hours of the morning (see: entry about the online textbook site under maintenance), so… yeah. No caffeine currently in my system and my brain is starting to check out. Sleep is good. So are formal-looking sheets of paper with my name on them. Good night.

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I remember what sunlight looks like…

I’ve been a night owl since… since forever, I think. I’ve had plenty of “days” when I’ve been up to watch the sunrise, then slept until the wee hours of the afternoon. I have no problems functioning during that time. Hell, I prefer it. (Or maybe I just don’t like waking up early, I’m not sure.)

Apparently, being a night owl has its downsides as well (aside from sleeping until the wee hours of the afternoon). I bought the online version of our Economics textbook and I was reading it just now, trying to cram a whole bunch of knowledge into my head for our upcoming final exam on Monday. I made it through fixed, variable and sunk costs and clicked the button to turn the page. Instead of the next section, I was greeted with this message:

Temporarily Unavailable for Maintenance
While Gale products are regularly available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a high quality product experience requires routine maintenance.

Which means they’re not available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So now I’m stuck trying to find something else to study, hoping that I’ll be able to access the textbook again within the next, oh, I don’t know, sometime before the sun comes up to say “Hi”.

(As a side note, shouldn’t that notice read “Temporarily Unavailable Due to Maintenance”? The way it’s written, they can’t perform maintenance on the website right now, in which case I’m getting doubly screwed.)

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Today before class was nice. I got to school early to talk with the director of the MBA program, then spent the next hour in a study room that’s relatively quiet. Sometimes I’m there by myself, sometimes there are a handful of other people, sometimes it’s a group talking about a presentation—whatever the case might be, it’s usually a pretty peaceful place to study. Or in this case, type on my computer.

My computer was important because during the course of that hour, I’m pretty sure someone came into the room who I didn’t want to talk to for reasons I ain’t gonna tell you. He said hi to a another person in the room and it sounded like his accent, but I kept staring at the screen and typing, not looking up to see if it was him.

How could I ignore them without seeming rude? Headphones. I had them plugged into my phone so I could listen to music while typing. (Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about listening to the same songs over and over again—I’ve got about 4 1/2 days worth of mp3 files in there.) So I kept my headphones on and kept typing intently. Did I know he was there? Yes. Did he know I knew he was there? Nope!

The ability to isolate ourselves into little bubbles via the use of technology may not be a good thing. Being in a room where everyone is plugged into mp3 players or staring at their smart phones… it’s a little disconcerting, given that people in that situation would have had to interact with each other just a few years ago.

In this case, though, thank goodness for technology bubbles. It helped me avoid talking to the guy since he left the room before I looked up from the screen (about half an hour later) and I got to listen to music at the same time. Music is awesome. Definitely better than listening to people semi-whispering about their presentation for class in an hour.

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Demand relief and it apparently doesn’t matter

I’m in class right now and we’re talking about the results of the midterm. I’d like everyone to take into account the fact that most of the people here are working adults trying to earn a graduate degree. They’re smart people. It’s an important point because the professor was… displeased with the results. It was a 60 point test and the mean was 42.4. The average score was 70%. That begs the question of whether that result is the fault of the students or the instructor.

I’m leaning toward the latter for a handful of reasons. For example, Question 5 was worth six points: “List some factors that determine the size of a business firm.” I listed seven different reasons. He did not mark any of them wrong, but he still gave me five points out of six.

But the worst reason is that the midterm followed his teaching methods. It was a test on Chapters 1-8. That was stated explicitly in the syllabus: “Mid-term examination in class, Ch. 1 – 8”. Now scroll back to last week’s entry. He was teaching us information from Chapter 15 in our third class; Question 3 was asking for information from Chapter 15. I didn’t focus on my notes from class—I studied the information we were supposed to learn from the text. Thus, more points lost.

(In case you’re wondering, I asked him outright during the review where that information was in Chapters 1-8 because I didn’t remember reading it in the text. He told me I should have known what we talked about in class. “So you tested us on something that wasn’t in Chapters 1 through 8?” Yep, he did.)

I’ve heard rumors floating around about students talking to the administration about this professor. Before now, I was kind of indifferent—he’s not very good at teaching the material, but I was managing okay. Now that it may have had a fairly significant impact on my grade, that discussion pales in comparison to a renewed urge to indulge in an ass-kicking. I’m pretty sure he won’t talk about it in class and I doubt it’s anywhere in the textbook, but it won’t be the first time I’ve improvised.

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Demand relief and it shall be supplied

Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for our Economics group (“Team Awesome”) today. This last week has been a giant pile of suckage, but now a whole lot of weight has been lifted off our shoulders and we can coast through the rest of the course. Unless the prof decides to ignore the assigned curriculum again—he taught us material from Chapter 8 in our first class and Chapter 15 in the third.

The class started with our midterm exam. Up to this point, we’ve taken one online quiz that was open book and multiple choice. Today, we were told it was short answer and would be more analytical versus multiple choice-style questions. That’s all we knew. Consequently, most people in the class were ruing the experience. (As a side note, since it was short answer, we needed to write our answers with a pencil. I’m used to typing, so my hand was cramping and my handwriting kept getting worse over time.)

Many late hours, several nights with almost no sleep, multiple social obligations abandoned… very uncool. Right now, I think I’m functioning almost entirely because of a large-scale consumption of Mountain Dew. Doing the Dew, baby, yeah…

And did I mention that our group had to make our presentation today? We had an hour to finish the quiz—immediately after the time ran out, our group of six walked up to the front of the room and began presenting a slideshow to the class, discussing a case study that very few people had read. (Everyone is supposed to read every case before it’s presented, but given the midterm today… we asked how many people had read it and I could count the number of hands on two fingers. Three, if you include my middle finger for the professor.)

As part of our group project, of course, we had to write an 8-10 page paper. It ended up being more like 11 or 12, but I’d rather cover more material than accidentally miss something important and have the prof bitch about it later. That was due the day of the presentation, so in the course of a week, we wrote a paper and prepared a presentation along with studying for the midterm.

The best part is that while studying last night, I spent some time lying on my stomach to read, which led to me tweaking my back this afternoon. Thus, I had to stand in front of the room with my group, leaning against the whiteboard and having occasional back spasms. So maybe we’ve been supplied with some stress relief, but these muscle spasms… I don’t think they’ll care very much about my demands.

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Hey, man… wings.

“The Clair and Gladys Strommen Executive Speaker Series brings local business leaders to Augsburg’s Minneapolis campus to share their insights and expertise.” It’s something they organize quarterly and I normally wouldn’t be very interested. Yesterday night, though, their guest speaker was Sally Smith, president and CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings. That in itself didn’t make it an amazing opportunity, but by preregistering for the event, I got to enjoy “sample wings from the restaurant chain” for dinner afterward. It had the potential to be a crappy presentation, but hey, man… wings.

Unfortunately, I missed most of the presentation, so it may or may not have been crappy. Like I mentioned a couple days ago, I met with my Economics group so we could talk about our paper, bounce around some ideas of what to add/include in each section and figure out what to put in our PowerPoint slideshow. We started talking at 4:30; Smith began her presentation at 5:00.

When we were done, the clock read 5:50 and she was scheduled to finish at 6:00… oops. But hey, man… wings. One of my fellow group members and I headed over there to hear what was left. As soon as we walked into the room, I sat down in closest available chair in the back row, then started being amused at the person in front of me who kept having to move her head around to see the podium because of the two fidgety teenagers with big hair sitting directly in front of her.

And then I stopped being amused. Smith was talking about the more popular sports they show on TVs in their restaurants: football and college basketball (baseball and the NBA aren’t as big of a draw until the playoffs). Then she mentioned commercials like the one where the maintenance guy was activating sprinklers to send a football game into overtime. Buffalo Wild Wings commercials… the horrific memories came flooding back.

Don’t worry, I didn’t rush the podium screaming in a fit of primal rage. It was tempting, but I had to make a choice: a massive swath of destruction vs. a trip down a buffet line of food. The deciding factor that led to my enjoyment of dinner? Hey, man… wings.

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