That’s opportunity knocking at your door, right here in Austin!
This blog is the next in the series of blogs discussing the components that make Austin such a great city to go to school in. Austin is a city just brimming with opportunity. Whether it is internships or job opportunities, volunteering opportunities, or really any opportunity, Austin can provide it for you.
The lovely UT campus is located deep in the heart of Austin. A few blocks away from McCombs is the Texas Capitol, home of the Texas Senate and House of Representative. I had the opportunity to intern at the Capitol last spring to explore my interest in law and politics. After a semester as a legislative aide, I figured out that politics wasn’t my forte, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to immediately find out it wasn’t a field I wanted to continue.
My co-bloggers Ally and Xinmiao have talked about how as MPAs, we do get various opportunities to give back to the community and work with/for not-for-profits. This semester, I am taking a course, which allows me to do just those. Yes, UT has an accounting class that is solely committed to using our accounting knowledge to serve others.
ACC 384 or ACC 366P is the Accounting Practicum class that can be taken by undergraduate and graduate students at McCombs. The class has been offered at UT for six years and has allowed students to become volunteer tax preparers at low-income neighborhoods.
UT partners with Community Tax Centers, a local not-for-profit organization under Foundation Communities. It has partnered with the IRS to implement the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for low income filers. Students taking the class are required to complete at least 55 hours of volunteer service as tax preparers at various Community Tax Centers from January until mid-April. Shifts can be as long as six hours per day.
This past weekend, we took the basic training to become preparers. We learned to navigate the tax preparation software that is being used for the program. We also worked on various cases and scenarios that we might encounter as volunteers and how we can effectively use the IRS guidebooks in helping clients with various tax issues and preparing their returns. Next Friday, we will have our intermediate training to become equipped in handling more complicated tax issues and preparation. The class requires that we take the certification tests after each training to assure that we have sufficient knowledge to do our volunteer work well. Continue reading Accounting Practicum: The Class that Gives Back→
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! Continue reading When Things Get Stressful…→
Wow! I never thought I would get this far. Being a fifth-year Integrated MPA student still feels surreal to me. My years of hardwork as a college student will finally come to a close. It surely feels bittersweet.
What does a fifth-year student’s schedule look like? After going through my recruiting and internship semesters, I have just been focusing on my remaining courses and enjoying Austin as much as I can.
I have a couple of undergraduate classes left to satisfy my BBA degree and three remaining graduate courses. Group projects, midterms, and deadlines are still the main highlights of my semester.
Even though this is my last year here at UT, I still strive to maintain my grades. while also making room to take fun classes that are non-accounting related, such as theatre and music.
I have also been preparing for the CPA Exam, which I am taking in April 2012. Testing under out-of-state requirements can be challenging, but I am very fortunate to have very helpful academic advisors that walk me through the process. I have also looked at Becker CPA Review courses to prepare for the exams. The AICPA website provides a good overview of the exam components and requirements for candidates. Continue reading Sentiments of a Fifth-Year MPA Student→