Smile for the Camera


Since I’ve been a child, I’ve always been interested in art. I was active in the art program all throughout high school. I even won some awards for my photography when I was a sophomore. But as I got older I spent less time focusing on my hobby. It’s crazy how you can lose site of things that you love as time goes on.  I recently started a new job that requires me to take pictures and this past month has re-energized me. It’s made me realize how important it is to continue to partake in your favorite pastimes no matter how busy you get. That’s why this week I’ve finally decided to purchase in my own camera.

Buying a quality camera is an investment. Up until recently I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit. If you aren’t going to use it, then it might not be worth it. In the past year, many of my friends have invested in cameras. Sometimes they bring them when we hang out and we get such amazing shots. It’s such a great way to keep memories. I don’t really enjoy getting my photo taken, but the images are so clear I actually don’t mind getting photographed as much. Being a bit of a laggard in the photography movement has also given me a chance to try a lot of different cameras out. Whenever someone takes a picture of me, I always offer to take one in return. It’s an amazing feeling when you truly capture the essence of someone.

Cameras are also great for social media. I have a friend that is relatively famous in social media. Her profits from her blog actually increased when she invested in a camera. She and another one of my friends have found a way to turn their hobbies into a revenue stream. They’re both part of the reason I was inspired to buy a camera and they were two of the first people I solicited for advice.

After reaching out to my photography friends for tips on what to look for in a starter camera and doing some of my own research, I believe I’m ready to make a final decision. I’m excited to visit Precision Camera sometime this week and hopefully make a purchase. It’d be amazing to have something to take great pictures with before the MPA photo competition starts on October 31st.

Why I Chose To Stay

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while…and yes I’m still here. I have stayed on as a MPA a semester longer than most, because I chose to complete an internship over the summer (and got credit for it).  I wanted to ensure I was making the right choice in career path and felt that actually trying it out for a few months would be the best way to assess my new profession.

I considered morning turkey sightings to be good luck.
I loved the turkeys on our campus.

I was lucky enough to intern in the Internal Audit department of a Fortune 500 company at their headquarters in Missouri. I was one of four interns for the group, and was able to participate in two audits. The job itself was a perfect fit for me, but one of the biggest draws for me was the travel component. I was based in St. Louis, but traveled to the Netherlands and Colorado during my two and a half months with the company. Best of all, this internship mimicked the full-time role that I will be taking on next year (yes-I liked it so much I signed on at the end of my internship).

The Hague
This photo was taken in the Scheveningen area after 8pm one night.
The Hague at Night
Not a bad place to go for an audit.

Coming to the MPA program people often have very set plans for the next 2-3 years of their lives. My advice, especially if you’re coming from outside the business world, is to take your time. If you’re able to spend extra time at UT, take an internship in the Spring or Summer. If you need to get out and into the workforce sooner, be sure to consider industry jobs in addition to public accounting. Up until last fall I’d never heard of the company I’ll be joining, and figured I’d be recruiting solely for full-time jobs while at UT. So never rule anything out, never close any doors-you never know what you’ll find or where you’ll go.

I went to St. Louis having never been to the state of Missouri before; next spring I will be calling it home.

The Coffee Experience

Saying that I love coffee would be a gross understatement. I LOVE, ADORE, RELISH coffee. Even a small whiff of the complex, bitter, (sometimes) nutty/smoky, and (always) delicious smell never fails to coax my lips into a smile. Coffee, for many college students, is a necessity. It keeps us perky throughout the busy day and can get us through any long night. Additionally, there are actually many health benefits associated with the magical brew like a lower risk of diabetes and liver cancer.

For me, coffee is more than just an energy drink or a health benefit. It’s an experience. I love coffee shops, which double as both vehicles of this experience and good study spots. Here’s a list of 5 of the best coffee shops in Austin (in my opinion):

1. Cafe Medici:
If you’re looking for something close and haven’t checked out Cafe Medici, you need to. Now. Located on Guadeloupe,  it has a great dark roast and Chai Latte. Upstairs, there are really cute tables and couches great for reading or studying.
Cafe Medici

2.  Epoch:
Located on N Loop Blvd, Epoch is a great casual space vending espresso drinks, sweets & pizza from East Side Pies in open, casual space
Epoch Coffee

3. Mozart’s:
Mozart’s is probably everyone’s favorite coffee shop in Austin. Located on Lake Austin Blvd, it has a stunning view and a stunning menu.
Mozart's Coffee

4. Cuvee:
If you love a good cold brew, Cuvee is for you. If you can’t be separated from your laptop… maybe not. The coffee shop/bar has a no wifi policy which I think is a great way to have a meaningful, unplugged conversation with a friend. Plus, look at it. It’s so cute.  Check it out if you’re ever on  E 6th St.
5. Summer Moon:My friend recently told me about Summer Moon, which is about a 20 minute drive from campus. Summer moon is a great study spot with tons of desks and outlets for your laptop. The coffee has a distinct smokey flavor because it’s cooked using brick, wood, and fire. Located on South 1st street, it’s worth the drive.
Summer Moon








If you’re a coffee lover like me, hopefully you can get around to checking these places out. We can LOVE, ADORE, and RELISH the drink together.

I’m Busy

“I’m sorry, I can’t go to _______ with you. I’m busy.” 

I’ve been guilty of saying this a lot lately. My friends in the iMPA program are more or less the same. This past week, Kanye West came to town, but I couldn’t go see Yeezus in the flesh on his Pablo tour. I was too busy doing my large laundry list of responsibilities:

  1. I am taking 17 hours of challenging coursework.
    • I am trying to do the iMPA program in 4 years instead of 5.
    • This has resulted in 4 exams and a project over the span of 10 days.
  2. I work customer service at the Perry Castaneda Library (PCL).
  3. I run a nonprofit that promotes healthy lifestyle choices (shameless plug: come check us out at
  4. I run the club Food Equality Movement Financial Group on campus to raise funds for my nonprofit.
  5. I write for this blog (yay!)
  6. I have interviews and decisions about internships to make.

I know that our advisers and older students in the iMPA program warned about how much work the classes will be, but I didn’t really believe it until recently. The classes have an insane workload, and with my other responsibilities, I’ve been…. well, busy.

My friends not in the program or that aren’t as involved as me often ask me:

“Why are you taking on so many things? Do you like pain?”

My honest answer is yes.

I like having so many things to do. Although I might be stressed sometimes because of all my responsibilities (or all the exams that seem to happen at the same time), I love the feeling of being busy. I love the feeling of waking up and knowing that all of my time will be spent on things that I am passionate about.

My accounting classes may be challenging, but I like them. Educating people about healthy lifestyle choices to prevent early Diabetes through my nonprofit may be an uphill battle, but it is one of my passions and extremely gratifying (I was overweight as a child). Writing/blogging is one of my favorite things to do. My interviews/internship decisions will help me further my career. Helping people at my job at the PCL helps me develop my ability to interact with multiple personalities, and I LOVE books. There isn’t a single thing on my list of responsibilities that I regret.

Even though I can’t see a lot of really cool artists perform, it’s okay. I don’t really mind that much. I would actually much rather commit myself to my commitments. It’s not that I don’t love concerts and fun, it’s just that I love my responsibilities more.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m  busy.

Meeting New People

BBA Career Services
When I first got to college I was very GPA oriented. My parents advised me that my goals in college should not just be about achieving classroom success, but also about meeting people. But, like most things your elders say it passed right over my head. I was a social person. There were tons of people on campus. Obviously, I’d meet new people naturally. Why would I make that a goal? But, as a 4th year I can finally admit that they were right.

Networking is important. When my parents told me that I should be continuously meeting people they were really encouraging me to network. Networking sounds intimidating, but the word is multi-purposeful. It’s not just a recruitment term. Successful networking happens when you meet new people and you use your web of resources and their web of resources for both of your benefits. It should always be mutualistic. It’s important to network throughout school for academic success. When you study with a new classmate, you’re successfully networking. The knowledge you bring to the session is different than the insight your classmate will bring. But, by the end of the day you’ll both possess the same knowledge. Many people don’t realize that at a base level the skills we use to form study groups are the same skills we’ll use one day to get a job.

I realized this when I first began recruiting for internships. Anyone who knows anything about public accounting recruiting, will tell you networking is the most important skill you need to get your dream internship. The process consist of three weeks of “social events.” Every person you meet and every interaction you have matters. Don’t let the casualness of the climate fool you. These events aren’t just social they’re your interview. By the time I got to office visits, because I had successfully networked I didn’t even get asked any interview questions. They already knew which students they were interested in hiring by then. This climate is exactly why one of your biggest goals in college should be to “learn to meet new people.” It’s the practice round for the real world. College is important because it is the only rehearsal you get for learning how to quickly make connections. So, the next time someone invites you to a social gathering, info session, or new study group say yes. It’ll help you in the present and the future.

MPA Student Life Blog

Skip to toolbar