Finals Fatigue

My last post and subsequent rebuttal were quite intense. So were finals. As such, I will keep this column short and puff it up with some conversationalia. After all, break is here.

What is great about the MPA is the intensity that I get the opportunity to bring to the table everyday. There’s really no way to survive the program without this type of effort. And, frankly, it’s a privilege to get to compete for grades with other great minds.

But gosh, is it draining!

As of a couple days ago, I realize just how emotionally, mentally and physically drained I am. Like a great workout, it has been worth it. I know that after some rest, I will realize how much I have learned—both in class and in life—over the past semester, be able to reflect upon it, rejuvenate and return to classes in the spring recharged for my final semester.

Until then, it will be nice to return to being the Paul that is a cousin/nephew/uncle/brother instead of the student/corporate robot. Stated another way, for at least a couple weeks, it will be nice to be hot chocolate Paul instead of coffee Paul.

I wish all well with their finals and pray that professors will grade exams mercifully. Until grades are released, here is some conversationalia…

Photo taken at Wal-Mart in July. Apparently the sugar in the cereals isn't enough anymore.

Sugary Cereals

The Environmental Working Group conducted a study, and the results showed that forty-five different cereals contained more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. Additionally, the study found that only 25% met the voluntary proposed guidelines for sugar content. As a cereal lover, my opinion on this subject is obviously biased, but I cannot help but share a photo I took at Wal-Mart in July this past summer. (And no, this photo is not doctored in any way.) Looks like there may be a covert sugar agenda…

Craig James for Texas Senate

Craig James, an analyst for ESPN, may run for U.S. Senate, a seat for which Kay Bailey Hutchinson will not seek reelection. Stories like these always intrigue me because I always viewed my graduate degree as a means to expand my career options. Call me a dreamer—and I’m not the only one—but I see my MPA as giving me skills that are transferable and valuable to just about anything I could imagine. Auditor today, but perhaps a lawyer, real estate mogul, CEO, president…or even a chef tomorrow…

Better Communication

A lawyer sent me this the other day. (No, I’m not in trouble.) This article was on various details that could enable us to communicate better. Looking over this list in the article, I would say that I am particularly guilty of “abstractionitis,” the fault of not using the actual word for an item. While I have been equally accused of being overly direct, I do admit that I also have the tendency, when seeking to avoid a conflict I deem unnecessary, to beat around the bush too much. This causes confusion to the extent that I am forced to be direct as a result, anyway.

And no, I did not write “beat around the bush” in order to elaborate further on Pallotta’s meaningless expressions category.

Final Thoughts

By this time next week, my brain will be recharged, and along with it, some more interesting things to say. (Problem is that right now, I might as well have painted this street sign.) Until then, what a great semester in the books! Thank you to all my professors and mentors for your support!

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