Hello to the UT MPA blogosphere! My name is Olivia and I am currently gearing up to start my tMPA experience in about a week. First…some information about my background. My undergraduate degree is in Fine Arts, so my path to the UT MPA is a bit atypical. Though I was strong in math in high school and started off in Engineering as a college freshman, I quickly discovered the dark rooms on UPenn’s campus and fell hard for photography. When I graduated with my bachelors, I headed out to San Francisco on a whim and soon found myself at a 9-5 desk job that included a sprinkling of Accounts Payable. Yearning for more, I signed up for an evening Financial Accounting class. That class quickly spiraled into more coursework that inspired me to research graduate programs.
Two years and four months after that first Financial Accounting class, I am thrilled to be writing on this blog, which was akin to a bible for me throughout my application process. I moved to Austin just under a month ago, and so far I am loving it. Truthfully, a lot of my time has gone to setting up my apartment, brushing up my resume, and most significantly, hunkering down and making my way through a 243 page learning resource that the MPA office mailed out to those of us enrolled in Financial Accounting this summer called “Solid Footing.” I just finished it and must admit, I feel like a master of debits and credits. Hard work aside, I have had some time to explore the city. Some of my favorite experiences have been: meditating in The Color Inside, eating at Kin and Comfort (unique and delicious Thai/Southern fusion), lingering on Rainey Street (especially on a weekend afternoon), exploring The Ransom Center (their WWI exhibit is incredible), seeing Obvious Child at Violet Crown (the theater has a modern design, reserved seating, and tasty food), relaxing on Spider House’s patio, and tubing on the Guadalupe River. High on my to-do list are the Umlaf Museum and Sculpture Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Baylor Street Art Wall, and ziplining on Lake Travis at night. Between all of the festivals, museums and galleries, restaurants, parks, and historical landmarks, I don’t think I will run out of things to do in Austin anytime soon.
Though I could easily occupy my time with non-academic, non-career pursuits, there is work to be done! I came to Austin for UT’s MPA program of course, and things will kick off for me this summer with ACC 381 – Financial Accounting with Brian Lendecky and ACC 380K.11 – Introduction to Taxation with Terri Holbrook. This is a pretty typical summer schedule for those entering the tMPA, unless you come to UT with academic waivers. After 5 weeks of those courses, we have a week of orientation. The orientation schedule was recently published and it is a jam-packed week including a faculty lunch, an Academic Advising presentation, a career panel, an etiquette dinner and finally, a two and a half hour career fair. Five days later, fall classes officially start. There really won’t be a break for most MPAs as BA 285T – Financial Management with Ramesh Rao starts during orientation week, before the start of most Fall classes.
I’m ready. Are you?