Sunday, November 14, 2010

Perspective-A Conversation with Mom

I talked to my mom tonight. I don't get a chance to talk to my family on a weekly basis because of all of the schoolwork I've got this term. I had seen my parents a few weeks ago when they were in-state for a wedding Gloucester (I had been studying for my accounting midterm at the time. This probably made me about as much fun as a barrel full of tax-law professionals.) My parents know that I'm kinda stressed out-work is always extra Fun in fourth quarter and I've got two classes this term. While I am learning stuff in both of them, school is kind of stressing me out. The amount of time it's going to take to complete my degree is starting to depress me. Accounting is Hard-and it's an intro course. This means that I'm going to have to take several more advanced courses that make my head hurt in the same way. My IT Project Management class (for which I had high hopes) is not actually teaching me very much.

It was this second concern I talked with my mom about. I am concerned that while I may do well enough in this class (most of the work is team work and my team has some solid members, I've actually done some project management work before etc) what is going to happen if I sign up for a class that this professor offers in something I *don't* already know how to do?

My mom's advice, while not particularly applicable in this situation is worth noting anyways. "Who's the most senior professor you've had? Find the most powerful person you know and tell them about your problem." This advice worked brilliantly for navigating a New York City Public School. I can see it working in a variety of settings (which is why I'm mentioning it on the inter-webs) but it's not going to help me out right now.

Mom's second remark was that I should always remember that "In literature and in life people make mistakes..." This phrase is the start of an essay question from a literature exam. I can't remember whether or not this is from an exam that she took in college or from one of the New York State Regents exams she had to grade (or maybe both?) It doesn't really matter. It's a classic start to a literature essay question and it is a truism. It's one of the things that we say to each other. It's a "cultural object" (to use MBA speak) between us. I have no idea whether mom says this to everyone she deals with or just to me. It doesn't matter. When she said it it put me at ease.

I can't tell you exactly what it means to means to me (if I could it wouldn't be *special*) but part of what it means to me is that I can use the same brain that I used to analyze Sartre and Camus to analyze next year's technology budget or business school case studies and Accounting problem sets. Part of is just the high five or the handshake we can give each other over speaker-phone. You are still my mom and I'm still you're daughter. I am still a literature/language person even if I'm taking Accounting this term.

My snarky response was that while you may learn in your undergraduate education that "in literature as in life people make mistakes" in you MBA education they teach you how to profit from other people's mistakes. Mom laughed at this.

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