Milk and Toast and Honey

It’s career and grad school fair time again at NAU. In preparation I’ve been attending seminars, meetings, and making office calls to my professors. My purpose is three-fold: to get to know them as a person and show them me, to better understand class objectives, and to build relations with the faculty here. I am continually amazed at the resources many students overlook in their professors. NAU has a great faculty policy; faculty office doors are always open to students and they are a tremendous inspiration and help to me. The best part is, because of small class sizes, there are no lines at those doors and few time limits on conversations therein.

This week turned out to be an education on the life of a CPA in the accounting field. Monday evening we, as in the Entrepreneur Club, invited the owner of a business brokerage in Phoenix to give a presentation on his career path and give advice for future entrepreneurs and grads. His career path included being a financial analyst, vice president of a bank, and now owner of a brokerage with 80 agents. Since I’m in a singing mood tonight, I’ll sing some more NAU praises…These meetings are amazing in that they give each of us one on one time with millionaires and billionaires. There are usually less than a dozen attendees, which puts us on first name basis with the speaker by the time the evening is over. This afternoon I went to a career fair prep meeting, which was even more boring than it sounds. After that it was upstairs to a MBA info session to try to figure out my options for the future year or two. I’m halfway to my Bachelors degree already and need to start combining and choosing classes with some strategy to get out of here with a job. Recent CPA rule changes now require 150 credit hours of college to get certified, which happens to be the same amount of time required for a Master’s degree in business, or MBA. For now, I’ll just say the MBA program looks attractive because of its intensive 10 months of presentations and rigorous writing assignments. Each student is assigned a communications mentor to help with communications skills. The assignments are mostly team projects with real case studies and subjective testing. No multiple choice exams here. Classes are taught with two professors, one management and one accounting, to present both the numbers and management side of each topic. Class sizes are small with the same classmates for the duration. Suit and tie required.

I’ve decided to focus more on accounting because I think I will enjoy the challenge. Accounting is known to be the hardest subject in business, and I want to learn something while I’m here. I’m still taking Chinese and computer programming as electives outside of the major; Chinese is good because—well just because, and I like computer programming because of how it builds problem solving skills by breaking a project into minute pieces of code—and hopefully I’ll learn something about computers while I’m at it. So there you have it; accounting, programming, and Chinese. I’ll likely take calculus next semester, too, because I never learned it in high school because I didn’t go to high school. I need one more class to fill up my schedule… Math classes genuinely scare me. Eventually I’ll get over it.

I still have mixed feelings on the college program in general. A girl asked me the other day if I was super intelligent (because of all the classes I take), and I told her, “No, I really don’t understand what’s going on here.” I don’t do well on IQ tests so I know it’s not that. I’m not sure what it is exactly that college grades measure. It doesn’t seem to be intelligence, because sometimes the smartest people fail a class. What concerns me more is that the straight A people are usually the known jerks. Except in classes with teamwork, there the jerks end up at the bottom. Promptness is a large part of making good grades. Never missing a class or homework assignment is an express track to a good grade. Age doesn’t seem to be the answer either; I know many people my age and above who are studious yet only have mediocre grades. My gut feeling is that it’s a belief thing; believe in the system and you will win every time. I know that NAU can only give so many A’s each year to uphold their reputation as a good school, I know that professors will only give out so many bad grades to uphold their reputation, I know that the majority of students don’t know how easy it is to get A’s and so don’t even try. So what is important? It is with college as it is with most other things—look at it long enough with a critical eye and all that is seen is a house of cards structure built of ego and heresy. Meanwhile I’m collecting bumper stickers for Scooby…therein lies truth.

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