Halfway Done and Proud

Well now that finals are over, I can say that I’m very excited that I have completed my first semester!  It was definitely a challenging week studying for all my finals but now that it’s over I feel accomplished and proud.  Kind of like what Paul said – the more effort you put in, the larger the result.  I am just hoping and encouraging myself that all of the effort I put in will give me the results I want.

Anyway – not much else to report on right now.  Most people (including myself) have left Austin for our  month long winter break.  I am excited to be home but at the same time, I already miss my MPA friends :)

I just wanted to mention that although it may seem (from our last slew of posts) that finals are insane, it isn’t really a bad thing.  This is probably the most I’ve studied (at all or at least in a really long time), but honestly I am really happy and feel very accomplished.  You are not coming to the best accounting program to be a slacker.  You are coming to work hard, learn a lot (get your money‘s worth), and get what you can out of your opportunities.  Having said that, I’m glad I spent my free week studying to really get the most out of these tests.  Finals are just tests.  And having almost a week to study for it is a gift – most tests you have to study for in the midst of doing 100 other things.

Also during this break I plan on starting the process of applying and studying for my first CPA section, so I will keep you updated with that process as I get it underway.

Have a great holiday season everyone!

When Things Get Stressful…

The MindBody Lab (photo taken from CMHC)

Finals week, unarguably, is one of the most stressful weeks for MPA students. Fortunately, UT and Austin provide a vast number of self-care options for students when things get a little stressful.  The city boasts enough diverse activities that there are options for everyone. Whenever my brain needs to take a break from accounting or from anything school-related, here are some of the things I do to rejuvenate:

1)   Cooking. Austin has to be among the best cities to get the freshest ingredients to the dishes you are making. I frequent grocery stores HEB on 41st and Red River, Central Market on 38th and N. Lamar, and Whole Foods on 6th and N. Lamar, all of which are a 10-minute drive away from campus. I also go to the Austin Farmers’ Market  downtown on Saturdays and at the Triangle on N. Lamar on Wednesdays. Local farmers from the Central Texas area sell fresh produce and other local products that you would not find elsewhere.  Not only are their goods fresh, but they are fairly cheap, too! …..click here to read more

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…

…..click here to read more

Accountants: Unexpected Heroes of the World

As the semester has gotten harder, a good number of my peers have considered if all of this work is truly worth it. Some of the people I’ve spoken to are thinking of trying to find a more rewarding profession, such as nonprofit work, or helping people in some way or another.  As much as they love accounting, sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture of why accounting is such rewarding work and how it can change people’s life. I took these sentiments personally because I feel accounting can be one of the most rewarding professions in helping others, and decided to do some research.

 

The first article I found was by Brenda Lee Tang of the Trinidad Express from November of last year called “Why accountants are the new heroes”.  In this article she says that accounting is “important work to be done on an ethical level.” Accountants are committed to the public good and are taught in ethical practices. We are an independent voice that stakeholders can trust. My personal favorite part of the article was the following paragraph:

“The impact of accountants’ professionalism will be most keenly felt in developing economies. Aided by their integrity and commitment to sustainability, accountants will be able to help create sustainable economic infrastructure, regulatory mechanisms, and codes of governance in places where there were none before. Most importantly of all, they will be vital to the development of the educational infrastructure that will equip the next generation of accountants.” – Brenda Lee Tang

Some people might think that accountants as “heroes” might be too strong a statement. However, I personally use Christopher Reeve’s definition of a hero:
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
I think it’s interesting that it is so hard to find articles that praise the work accountants and auditors do. Especially recently, it seems like every article about accountants is describing audit failures. There are hundreds of front page articles about alleged auditing mistakes, but none about  all the audits that are completed every year without any issues. …..click here to read more

Where to study?

It's finals time!

Now that finals are upon us, I find myself looking for some good study spots.  I have to admit, I usually study in my room, but finding that to be unproductive, here are some other study locations I have tried out throughout the semester:

MPA Lounge: So far, this seems to be the best.  There are tables and chairs when you need a hard surface or want to spread out.  There are also comfy chairs and couches for those times you just need to stretch out.  It is also nice seeing familiar faces, as well as other students in your class that you can study with!  It is conveniently located in McCombs and seems to not have too many other distractions (that I have found yet, although while studying today, the walls seemed so much more interesting than they usually do). You can read another description of the lounge in Karen’s post a few days ago.

PCL: This is basically the main library on campus and is located across the street from McCombs.  It has a plethora of nooks and crannies on its upper floors if you are a hibernating studier.  There is the computer lab on the main floor that has more hustle and bustle for those who need some white noise.  If you like a mixture, you can find a cubby in a row among the stacks where there are people around, but enough isolation so you can concentrate.

My room: This seems like a bad idea, but I honestly do get some good studying done here.  I have my food and the comfort of my own space to spread out.  I would suggest not studying on your bed or with the tv on (which I usually do anyway), but if you are good at concentrating for a periods of time, you might as well stay comfy! …..click here to read more