Thursday, October 29, 2009

My BA... Be Anything!

Due to my current midlife crisis (I have no idea what I'm going to be doing next year) I decided to meet with my career counsellor today. I e-mailed her last week to set up the appointment and told her a little about what I'm interested in:

Marketing Research Analysis (I've just recently learned a little more about it and think it would be something I'd enjoy), Commercial Brokerage (arranging the buying and selling of businesses? Maybe sounds like a good option). I originally wanted to go into financial analysis, but early on in my economics degree learned that I prefer microeconomics to macroeconomics and would be better suited to something more related to the micro aspect.

I've thought about going to grad school for economics after finishing an honours degree, but part of me wants to just be out of school. The problem is that I have no idea what I want to be when I'm out of school. The way I explained it to a friend of mine is "When your main life goal is to have five kids and make homemade bread every Wednesday, it's hard to fit into the commonly accepted schooling and career system."

Suffice it to say, however, that I've been looking into lots of options. I'm not ruling anything out. I've looked into the pastry chef program at SAIT (cool, but would just require more school), commercial brokerage (no one from the one Calgary company that accepts recent grads as trainees will return my emails or calls), marketing research analysis (actually quite fascinated by this one, information has been a little tricky to gather but I'm not giving up yet), and even applied for an internship with the Bank of Canada (I have yet to hear back from them).

I love my subject, I really do. I like economics and find it intriguing. Nothing gets me through my mid-university crisis like going to my Game Theory class. I just wish that I would have listened more carefully when I asked people 4 years ago "Are there jobs for people with Econ degrees?" and they responded "You can do ANYTHING with an Econ degree!"

I hope that includes being a pirate. Or a spy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nerd Points

Today I was working on a big assignment due tomorrow with some other people from my class. I let slip one of my signature big words– I think it might have been emporium, although I can't quite remember– and there was some confusion among my fellow students as to my meaning. It reminded me of a game we played when I was a missionary in Oulu, the "Nerd Points Game". It all started with a game of pseudo-Balderdash played in the Outreach Centre. In one round, I used some fun, exciting, and unusual words. Although my entry wasn't the official winner, Elder Taggart honoured me with the bestowal of a "nerd point" for my trouble.

Thus began the Nerd Point Game. Whenver any member of our district used particularly large words or a complicated turn of phrase, they were awarded one nerd point. I'm not really sure why this came out in a blog right now, but suffice it to say that I've been studying game theory for 3 hours and copying out a good copy of my calculus for the past hour. I think I'll go to bed now.

Greetings from Purgatory

In a desperate attempt to break free from the outer darkness known as "midterm week" ( I know it sounds harmless, but that's how they get you!) I send this message out into the blogosphere and wait for help to arrive.
Save me! I've sunk so deep I don't know if I can ever get out! It all started so innocently... I singed up for five classes at the U of C in the fall semester and I thought to myself, "Just once won't hurt... I can handle this... moderation is for wimps." Then came the readings, the little assignments here and there. I thought they would make me cool, that everybody's doing it. Well, we all know where those kind of rationalizing thoughts get you. Soon I found myself holed up alone in the library for 7 hours on a Saturday, with calculus, game theory, and marketing strategies coming out of my ears. Then I was skipping FHE to memorize the Boston Consulting Group Growth Share Matrix. Next thing you know, I'll be (gasp) a full-on KEENER.
I know that I've gotten myself into this deep hole of purgatory by my own agency and I'll have to write the four midterms this week whether I want to or not (I guess there are a few remaining options, like faking my own death, fleeing the country, or maybe just failing the class, but I'm not sure that even those would succeed). So wish me luck, and if you don't hear from me by Sunday, know that I failed and that I've been lost in the depths of midterm hell for all eternity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Smoked Turkey

It all started a few weeks ago when Mum and Daddy announced that they were going away for Thanksgiving. They had received a weekend in Windermere as a gift and went for their anniversary. They broke the news to us as gently as they could. After the shock of realizing that we would be on our own for the holiday (gasp!) and after Peter shed a few tears for the turkey that would not be this year (at least until American Thanksgiving, when we're having the missionaries and possibly my old companion), I thought to myself, "Well, I could make some kind of roasted fowl..." I got really excited and thought of a few roast chicken recipes that I'd seen throughout my years of cookbook perusing, Elena had grand plans for pies galore, and we planned to eat our very own festive meal on Sunday.

That is, until the dishwasher broke. After washing our own dishes for two weeks, suddenly the reality of hand-scrubbing a roasting pan and a zillion pots kicked in (aided by the memory of Christmas '06, when we had 15 people in the house for the holidays and our dishwasher decided to go on the fritz just in time for our turkey dinner). Suddenly I was thinking more along the lines of, "Let's have a frozen pizza on paper plates" seemed more my speed.

All in all, when a member of Mum and Daddy's ward heard that we were alone for Thanksgiving and invited us to join them, it was a welcome invite. Especially since the furnace has also been acting up and the house has been sitting at a cozy 16 degrees since Friday night.

Elena went ahead and made her pie, which we took to our hosts, and we set off for Peter's friend's house, where we would be enjoying this year's Thanksgiving dinner. Our hosts warned everyone that this year, they had smoked their turkey, and so everyone should try it first to see if they liked it before heaping their plates high with meat. It was so delicious! Every single bite was moist and tender and tasted like applewood (in a good way). The gravy made from the smoked meat had a delicious flavor and Peter and his friend started inventing ways to eat more of it even when the potatoes were all gone. The incredible meal was topped off with pumpkin, lemon, and sugar pie and a game of Star Wars Battlefront (which I lost spectacularly!).

The only problem with that turkey dinner is that now the leftovers are at their house instead of in my fridge! What I wouldn't give for a smoked turkey sandwich today at noon...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In the spirit of the season, here are some thing that I'm thankful for. In no particular order.

I'm grateful that Calgary seasons finally decided to get their act together and the +30 September ended. Now I can wear my cute cool-weather clothes that I brought home from Finland!

I'm grateful for General Conference- one of the best weekends of the year.

I'm grateful for the old-fashioned radio shows that I can download every week that bring me such joy and entertainment while I ride my bike/the bus to school.

I'm grateful for Friday Forum.

I'm thankful that my scuba diving course ended last week so that I only had to swim in 13-degree weather and not the stuff we're having now.

I'm grateful for my little ibbi and the way they call me "Auntie Neen".

I'm thankful for a temple close by and one being planned even closer. That really came into perspective yesterday when, at the temple, I thought about the saints that would travel to Helsinki from Russia, the Baltics, and Belarus and do sessions 24/7 for a week.

I'm thankful for the mountains. When I lived in a flat country for 18 months, I didn't really realize how much I loved the mountains until I got back to Calgary. The first time I went hiking after my mission, it felt like coming home.

I'm grateful for the smell of Elena's pie still lingering in the house- I can't wait to have a piece!

I'm thankful for pretty much everything to do with Finland.

And I'm grateful for my family full of loveys.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My semester has purpose! And meaning!

Today I had about 10 minutes between eating lunch at the institute and leaving for class, which, as anyone will tell you, is not sufficient interval to crack open a textbook and do any real work. I got talking to my friend Becky about the story of Leon the frog, an epic tale of an innocent green frog searching for greater meaning in his life by pursuing the unattainable light at the top of the stairs. This journey of self-discovery and wonder is written, line by line, on the stairs of the Social Sciences building– all 13-plus-basement floors of it. I've read portions of the story as I've walked up to the fourth floor, where the economics department and all my lovely professors have their domain, as well as a snippet here and there whenever I find myself going from one floor to another in Social Sciences. Becky and I wondered how it had gotten started, and more importantly, whether the chapter written on the stairs from the basement to the first floor, now faded, had been lost to us forever. 

After a quick google, search, we realized that the original story was written in the early 1970s by some students with a mission. Over time, it's been rewritten as the indelible ink fades, with new editing and additions by each generation. Becky and I figured that it's time for the original tale to be restored to its former glory– that is, if we can track down a rare first edition in time for Leon's prestigious 40th anniversary. So far, I've got plans to look up the archives for the Gauntlet, the campus newspaper, and contact the original author to see if she's got it written down anywhere. 

I've got a mission! Before I leave the U of C campus for good either this spring or next, Leon the Frog deserves to be re-written in its original glory.