Discomfort with Mental Discomfort is a Liability

try to confront discomfort

Nine out of ten times, I go to the writing center seeking help before turning in any writing assignments. “English is my second language” is no longer an excuse after five+ years (Yes, I learned some Texan slang, “How are ya’ll doing?” or “Hook’em Horns!”). But writing still makes me uncomfortable.

Paradoxically, when I saw the MPA blogger application opened, I jumped right in. This responsibility involves quite a bit of writing in addition to my class assignments (approximately 30 to 35 blogs per school year). Different from school work, the blog posts will have a broad audience. AND this is not just about me getting a good or bad grade, but my posts may leave a small impression on prospective students about the MPA program. Despite all that, I eagerly applied and was grateful that April, our Marketing Director, gave me this opportunity. So why did I do this? Besides wanting to share information and MPA experience with blog readers, I want to confront my mental discomfort with writing.

Cal Newport, who is an expert in learning techniques, once said in his book So Good They Cannot Ignore You, “Discomfort with mental discomfort is a liability.” Immersed in my accounting class, I immediately try to define liability in accounting terms: the future sacrifice. It makes perfect sense in this context. If you let your mental discomfort turn you away from improving yourself, then you will sacrifice opportunities to cultivate important skills, whether it is career-related or a more personal goal.

Choose something that is essential and challenging to you and work on it. Turn it into an asset (in accounting, the probable future benefit) of yours.

Some on-campus learning resources that may be helpful:

1) Writing appointments for graduate students: excellent tutors who are graduate students in Journalism, English, and Communication, among others.

2) Writing center for undergraduate students: similar to 1), but for undergrads.

3) Meet a learning specialist: Learning specialists assist students with study-related questions or concerns, including preparation for presentations, improving grade, dealing with exam stress, etc.

4) UT Sciences Toastmasters: “a club where people gather to gain experiences in public speaking and leadership in a fun and encouraging environment.” Highly recommend if you want to improve public speaking or communication in general.

These Boots Were Made For Walking

As a Texan, I have a serious confession: I have never owned a pair of cowboy boots. I have kicked (pun intended) the idea of purchasing a pair around a couple of times, but never had a solid reason to commit to a purchase.  However, after seeing the attire at my first UT game, I decided that it was finally a good time to procure a pair.

IMG_2525Boots on Boots on Boots

Like any good millennial, I decided to Google “Places to Buy Boots in Austin” and began to research. From what I determined, the best place to begin the search for the perfect pair is South Congress. There are traditional stores like Heritage Boot and Allens Boots, and also a lot of great vintage stores that offer a selection of boots, such as Feathers Boutique, New Bohemia and Uncommon Objects.

After my last interview during a busy week of recruiting on Friday morning, my mom and I headed to South Congress to find a pair before the UT game on Saturday. While my original intention was to hunt for a secondhand pair, my mom encouraged me to check out Allens Boots for our first stop.

IMG_2529 2We spent a lot of time exploring the store. They have boots for all different types of personal styles. Some of my favorites were Texas centric and featured the Texas flag or an outline of the state on the front. There was also this “Don’t Mess With Texas” pair that I found very entertaining:

IMG_2530While I am personally not flashy enough to purchase boots with a famous anti-littering campaign slogan on them, I did find the perfect pair of boots for me at Allens.  I ultimately decided that the full price cost would be worth it if I really loved the boots and will continue to wear them for years to come.  You only purchase your first pair of boots once.  I feel way more Texan already.

The newest additions to my closet:IMG_2534

We Are The Heroes

Hi y’all,

In case you were busy studying last night, or watching the Seahawks/Packers game and missed the Emmy’s, you missed a room full of people clapping for accountants. Not just any people, but celebrities. And James Corden said that accountants are the heroes, because we use mathematics to count the winners of each award.

So if you had any doubts about becoming an accountant, or getting your master’s in accounting, just know that you too have the chance to become a hero of Hollywood.

Bonus Knowledge: EY also works with the Golden Globes and PwC works with the Oscars.

EY Accountants
EY Accountants-Photo via Getty Images

Healthy Horns Take Naps

nap and book

What is the worst time of the day? The consensus is early afternoon. Why? Because most people feel drowsy, sluggish, and exhausted after lunch. While it makes biological sense, it makes no sense to Horns’ busy lifestyles. If you invest 30 minutes in napping instead of working inefficiently, you might save hours in productivity.

From my past three years of experience taking naps almost daily on campus, here is a list of my favorite spots rated on a combination of factors, such quietness, distance to the business school, availability, etc.

  1. Main tower 2nd floor- Life Science Library. With more than 12 genuine leather couches and quiet, high-ceiling open study space, you can nap comfortably.
  2. Union 2nd floor. This place is designed for taking naps. It is a blessing that Wifi in this small part of building does not work well, so no extra noise is generated.
  3. As the “living room” of UT, SAC has a lot going on and can get noisy and crowded sometimes. But it is still on my list, because it has so many comfortable chairs and couches.
  4. PCL 2nd floor (and scattered couches throughout the building). Great napping spot if you are short on time.

If you want to know more, University Health Services website provides a map of the most popular nap spots as voted on by UT students.

A few tips:

Bring a light cover or jacket. You may feel cold when taking a nap or even catch a cold because of the powerful AC systems in many of these places.

Secure your things. Nothing of mine has ever been stolen on campus, but it is good to be alert rather than sorry.

Texas Fight

This past Saturday night, I found myself standing in an ocean of burnt orange as it was the first UT football home game of the season. Having attended a university without a football team as an undergraduate, I was eager to experience a UT game since my acceptance to the MPA program and I was not disappointed. Obviously, my enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that we beat the Rice Owls 42-28, and the Tower was lit orange in celebration.


My favorite part of the evening was attempting to learn the words to the crowd’s chants and then the appropriate time to sing each one. I was successful in getting a few of the songs down at the right time, but I was mostly just good at yelling when our defense was on the field. My voice was a bit horse on Sunday morning as a result. If you ever consider going to a game, I recommend checking out the chants before you go, however it was fun to attempt to learn them with the other MPA students.

As students, we are offered what is called the “Big Ticket,” and for $175 (this year’s rate) you are given admission to all UT home football games as well as all other UT sports throughout the year. As graduate students, we have second selection (behind current seniors) for seat placement at the stadium, so we were placed in the sixth, seventh and eighth rows on the northern goal line. The view was pretty fantastic as seen below.


My first game was an excellent experience, and I am so glad I made the decision to buy the Big Ticket. I look forward to attending the rest of the games this season. Hook ‘em.


MPA Student Life Blog