Orientation Week with this Geek

texasHey blog readers, and welcome to my first post! I thought I’d kick things off with a bang and tell you a little bit about orientation week! However, I’m not going to do this in a normal manner. No, instead I’m going to use my freestyle rapping skills to lay down what orientation is all about in the form of a poem.
Note: I am actually quite good at freestyling, so find me around campus if you want to hear or have a rap battle!

Orientation began at the AT&T center
Where the temperatures were as cold as a Midwest winter.
We got MPA swag including a shirt and name tag
And a very nice black Texas MPA bag.

Each person was assigned three different animal tables
Where we met fellow lions, and maybe a few giraffes if we were able.
There was a professor panel about classes and advice on careers
And despite the cold temperature, every student was all ears.

Everyone was a bit tired after orientation day one,
But we all went bowling after for some pizza and some fun!
We developed friendships with other MPA students and exchanged numbers of phone
So that when we went to games and 6th street, we wouldn’t be all alone!

Orientation week is now over and classes have begun
But that doesn’t mean I’m not still having fun!
I’ve used the knowledge I gained in my classes and career path
And still have the friends I made who can always make me laugh!

I am so excited to be a Texas MPA
Where I learn something new each and every day.
Where I get to explore Austin cuz it’s a hell of a town
And learn about accounting with the brightest minds around!



Orientation, Recruiting, and Easy Tiger

Things have been quite busy for us MPAs these last few weeks between the close of summer classes, orientation, recruiting events, and the start of the fall semester. With the kickoff of fall classes comes OCR deadlines, employer information sessions, and mock interviews in the next week or so. Some tMPAs have already had actual interviews and before we know it, we will be receiving offers even though we officially started school just one week ago!

Despite the hustle and bustle, I managed to find some time to explore Austin. Most notably, I checked out Mozart’s on the lake (stunning lake view, tasty coffee drinks, and delicious pastries), relaxed on the rooftop of 219 West (great view of downtown and tasty drinks of another variety), saw the kickoff football game versus North Texas (burnt orange everywhere; we won!), and most recently explored Easy Tiger.

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Easy Tiger is a unique space that combines bakery and beer garden in a way only Austin could. When you enter the building, you are first presented with their bakery counter that serves house-made breads, pretzels, sausages, and corned beef. You can see straight back into the bakery itself and watch the magic in action. If you proceed downstairs, you find yourself in their dining and bar area where they have a large selection of craft beers, wines, spirits, cheeses, sandwiches, etc. Go through the back door and you are on their outdoor patio that straddles Waller Creek. There are walkways and bridges around the creek that are fun to wander around. Easy Tiger is right on the edge of “dirty sixth” where it turns into east sixth and is a low key and welcome alternative to the nearby offerings of sixth street. I will be going back for the bread, chai tea, and the outdoor atmosphere.

1st and 10

1st and 10The MPA program completed Orientation last week. It was a crash course on many of the academic and career resources available to students. (These resources and the flexibility they allow were the leading factors in me choosing to attend the UT MPA.) There were also 3 major recruiting events: Etiquette Dinner, Networking Reception, and Career Fair. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet various organizations and gauge mutual interest. As a friend put it, it was like “Employer Rush.”

Despite how interesting this past week was, there’s only one thing on anybody’s mind right now: FOOTBALL! College football kicks off its season this Saturday, and pro ball not far behind, so while afternoons may be filled with class, evenings are now dedicated to finalizing tailgate plans and fantasy lineups. (And homework, of course!)

Pre-class discussions are quickly turning to the ball that bounces funny, intercollegiate ribbing is taking place between undergraduate rivals, and everyone is becoming their own fantasy expert. People are discussing the new college football playoff format and how it compares to the BCS. Amidst all the excited, there’s one large, looming question: How are the Longhorns going to be under a new coach?

Despite all of Charlie Strong’s attempts, expectations are still high for him and his team. You can be sure that the UT faithful will flood Austin in droves to see how the new regime begins against North Texas and BYU. You can also be sure that the MPA students will be in the stands in Orange and White to cheer on the Longhorns as we get to take part in the school’s storied tradition.

Having received my undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia, I am excited to experience Game day at another perennial powerhouse. I look forward to watching the football team’s journey throughout the fall. Much like them, I will have the chance to set off on a new journey this semester, face new challenges and climb to new highs; I can revel in the excitement of a new future as I put the T back in Taxes! :)

Reality Check

BackpackStudents entering the tMPA program who did not major in accounting for their undergrad are asked to attend class for a 5-week summer session in order to get up to speed for fall courses. At first blush, it sounds somewhat hard to believe: take two accounting classes and catch up to students who took two years’ worth of accounting. Not only have these summer courses taught me more than I thought possible in this short amount of time, but also they have revealed the intentions of the program and the expectations of the students.

Having taken a couple of summer courses in undergrad, I expected Financial Accounting and Introduction to Taxation to follow a similar, relaxed pace. Boy, was I wrong! They are much more grueling than even my toughest undergraduate courses. Truly, I am glad to have found my study group so quickly (thanks to the MPA-sponsored pizza party the week prior to class) because we have had 4 tests in the past 4 weeks and are preparing for 2 more tests and 2 projects over the upcoming week. Thankfully, we’ll have a couple of days off before Orientation starts, and then we get to meet the rest of our class.

While dealing with the blistering pace of summer courses, however, I’ve realized I am not here to make easy A’s. In fact, I’m not at this program to check a box and take 30 hours. I chose the Texas MPA because I have only one year to get the best education I can. Additionally, it gives me the chance to recruit with top firms, work alongside the smartest students, and learn from a superb faculty. If such an opportunity means late nights and early mornings, then I will take those gladly because I know many people would gladly trade places with me right now.

Adventures at the Gym and a Gallery

We’re into in our fourth week of summer classes, which means our five week jaunt is drawing to a close. We had two exams already and have two more this week. There are  projects due in both classes next week, and finals aren’t far away. It has been somewhat challenging to make time for non-academic ventures but I certainly have not been holed up exclusively with my textbooks. One of my favorite activities has been going to aerobics classes at the gym. I have tried kickboxing, zumba, yoga, and pilates. Kickboxing was absolutely hilarious—there was so much choreography and I had no idea what I was doing so it was entertaining to say the least. All in all, the gym facilities are great and Gregory‘s proximity to McCombs can’t be beat. The TeXercise pass is definitely worth it. I also went to the outdoor lounge pool last weekend, (there are 3 outdoor pools) which has a small waterfall and a water sprayer that feeds into it. It is a nice spot to relax right on campus.

Totem Installation by Karen Hawkins at Gallery Shoal Creek

Off campus, I really enjoyed an art opening called “Texas Soil” at Photo Méthode gallery which is in the Flatbed Press building. Flatbed Press rents out space to a few galleries and as a result, the building is really unique and the art diverse. Karen Hawkins’s Totem Installation at the Gallery Shoal Creek was quite visually stunning. The totems hung from the ceiling and were made from deconstructed books. It was a lot of fun to walk among the sculptures. The photographs in Texas Soil, which I ventured out for, were fantastic as well and it was such a treat to be able to chat with the artists. I guessed correctly that one of them had used a Hasselblad film camera for his shots but was a bit disappointed to learn that he scanned his negatives instead of making prints in the darkroom. It is really unfortunate how few people still print in the darkroom as the materials become more scarce and cost prohibitive. It is a very meditative and special practice that will soon be all but lost. Nothing beats the smell of developing chemicals and the buzz of the red safe light, or in the case of color printing, being confined to your own closet sized printing room that is completely sealed off from any light whatsoever. I am very lucky to have been in the last color film class at UPenn before they demolished that darkroom. This show reminded me that I need to shoot and print more soon. Nonetheless, I will definitely be going back to Flatbed and believe they are a part of the East Austin Studio Tour which I will be checking out in November.