Say Cheese

Photography Part Two


I’m excited to say my trip to Precision Camera was a success. After two visits, I left with a brand new Sony a6000 camera. Its been about two weeks and I absolutely love it. It was great to have a quality camera to take pictures with for Halloween.

Photography is interesting because the more you get into it the more you realize how challenging the craft is. Every time I’ve been out to shoot I learn something new about my camera. High-powered cameras have so many features built into them its crazy. Personally I hate reading instruction manuals, so I’ve been learning about my device through trial and error. I also think one of the best ways to learn is by observing others. A few of the times I’ve been out with my camera my photography friends have been with me. I always ask for feedback on the photos I’m taking. Having a second opinion always helps. People always notice things I would never think about. It’s also cool to go out and shoot with them because they’re great at finding cool spots to take pictures.

Trying to find the perfect spot for photos is one of the hardest parts of photography. A place my be aesthetically pleasing in person but show up terribly in photos. A lot of this has to do with lighting. Natural light provides the perfecting illumination for eye-catching photos. But, depending on the time of day natural light can make your photo look very different. Luckily I’ve been getting a lot of practice playing with different lighting lately. Because we’re seniors many of my friends and I are trying to cross things off of our Austin bucket list. Going to all of the cool places Austin has to offer has given me a chance to capture some amazing photos. Investing in a camera has not only allowed me to capture memories, but it also has given me a new challenge. I hope to continue to get better at photography. If I keep improving, I might even submit a photo for the MPA Photo Contest: Around UT in 20 days.

Your Professors Are Your Greatest Asset

I must confess that by the end of my freshman year I had neglected to attend any of my professors’ office hours.

Fast forward to my Junior year, and I am wise enough to now frequent office hours. On the other hand, many of my friends mention they have yet to see their professor outside the classroom and the majority of students do not attend their professors’ office hours, even by their third or fourth year at the university. As classes become more challenging, there is a newfound appeal to finding a way to get that “A” through some sort of shortcut. Although there are no shortcuts to doing well in school, there are effective methods all successful students share. I would say that attending office hours is by far the most important step to take if you are wanting to make an “A” in any course.

office hours

The Top Four Reasons Why You Should Go To Office Hours:

  1. Your professor will no longer need your nameplate to know your name.  Unless you can name every person you have ever had a class with at UT, you probably should not expect your professor to remember your name. Once you start attending office hours, your professor will learn your name and this will help you establish a relationship.
  2. Just because they work at a university does not mean they are not business professionals! Your professors most likely got their positions because they excelled in their respective fields. If you feel stuck in your internship search, or even in determining what MPA track is best for you, your professors will likely have some unique insight. They can use your academic performance to identify your skill-set strengths and weaknesses and illuminate some prospective fields you may not have even considered.
  3. You will be more motivated to excel inside and outside the classroom. For most of us, having an attractive GPA is what pushes us to study for that “A”. We care about the information we learn and we want our grades to reflect that. The pressure to get an “A” can be very stressful and it is easy to lose faith if you bomb your first exam. At this point, it is crucial to talk to your professor. Your professors will identify ways for you to improve your performance and will not judge a low exam grade. Once you make this a pattern, you will be more motivated to do well in your class because you will feel not only a responsibility to yourself, but to your professor, too.
  4. Your professors are your greatest cheerleaders. No one wants to see you succeed more than your professor. It does not matter whether you would define “succeeding” as finishing the class with a high “A” or passing with a “C”. There is a reason why professors choose their current positions: they actually enjoy helping students learn! Let them help you and do not be afraid to ask questions.Your professors want to help you get to where you want to be.

Going to office hours may seem intimidating at first, but taking the time to attend them is a decision you will not regret. Even if you feel completely lost and embarrassed to ask questions, your professor will be happy you are reaching out and will help you get back on your feet. As you continue to attend office hours, you will be more inspired to succeed and, as a result, you will be a stronger, more confident student. At McCombs, we are lucky to have the faculty we have, so be sure to take advantage while you can!

Networking for Introverts

My personality type, according to Myers-Briggs, is INTJ. This means that I’m introverted. When I tell people that I just meet that I’m an introvert, they usually don’t believe me. I’m pretty friendly when you first meet me, I love public speaking. That’s the common misconception about introverts– that we’re all a pack of antisocial outcasts that can’t hold a conversation. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Introvert.jpg (640×427)

I actually love people; it’s just that when I interact with large droves of them, it drains me. Because of this, networking for many introverts is a nightmare. However, as a business student, networking is vital for finding a job and then excelling at it.

I’ve learned that networking doesn’t have to be draining. Here’s a couple of tips of how I do it:

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone at once.
    Seriously, you don’t have to talk to everyone at the event.  Instead, choose a couple of people that you can relate to and concentrate all of your energy on them. This is great because you make a more memorable connection with someone AND you don’t get drained by attempting to talk to EVERYONE at once.
  2. People at networking events want to meet you.
    A lot of my introverted friends are too terrified of talking to anyone at the event because they don’t know what they’re going to say. Don’t be scared. Most people want to talk to you. They want to tell you about their jobs. They want to meet you. Just ask them a question about themselves or the company and the conversation will eventually flow naturally.

Remember, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking. If you’ve been avoiding networking events because your introvert– stop. You can do it!

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.

MPA Student Life Blog

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