grad school + how i’ve been

Long time, no see! It has been a hot minute since I’ve been on here – my familiar but also distant corner on the internet. To be honest, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to carve out time to sit down and blog, but I haven’t been able to muster up the courage to write again. But today, it’s sunny and freezing in Seattle (my favorite kind of weather!), and I suddenly had the inspiration to write. I’m tucked away in a coffeeshop in between classes and it’s so pleasant.

Since my last post, I started grad school! I’m part of my school’s tax accounting program, so it’s a little more specific than your classic MBA program. It’s been odd transitioning and starting my fifth year of school with all of my friends starting their full-time jobs. Now that I’ve completed two months of grad school, I’ve had time to really think and reflect about how I’m feeling/doing.

I moved into my new apartment with my friend who’s also in the program with me – so far, it’s been a fantastic living situation. I’m grateful thus far in my life to have had great roommates; my roommate and I have been good about keeping each other in check, mental health-wise. I had so much fun decorating my room and making it my humble abode for the next year. Does anyone else love building furniture? Lol I had the time of my life constructing and putting together all my furniture pieces from Ikea 😂

We had orientation for our program shortly after I moved in and honestly after that, I was terrified. It sounded like everyone’s stress level would be at an all-time high 100% of the time; people’s mental health would plummet to rock-bottom; we would get no sleep. I was really bracing myself after that, and luckily, I was able to find a really solid study group quickly. I’ve been spending multiple hours every week with my study group and I have to say I’m so grateful I have them to get through the program with!! We’ve had good laughs, inside jokes, and upcoming Friendsgiving plans already ☺️

Otherwise, I’ve been balancing my time outside of classes studying on my own (CPA studying starts in 2020 – wish me luck!), relaxing, and most importantly, making sure I sleep enough! It’s been difficult being unable to grab drinks or see a movie with friends during the week because I’ve had to prep for classes I have the following day; basically, telling them no when you really want to has been hard for me. On the flipside, I’ve been managing my time even more efficiently because weekends are when I can hangout with my working friends. I feel that I do have more free time once I get all my schoolwork done. It’s been a high priority of mine to ensure that when I’m relaxing, I’m really relaxing.

I’m thrilled that I’ve managed to make time to read as well – it’s still 100% my favorite pastime (I even passed my goal for this year to read 30 books!). Giving myself time to do what I love is so important to me because I feel that that’s what gives me life!! This priority has also made me question everything I’m doing to work toward my career in tax – but more on that later.

Also – sleep! Sleep is still the most important thing for me and it makes me sad when my peers aren’t prioritizing it. Grad school has surprised me because I feel like I’ve never slept this much in my schooling years before. I typically go to bed between 10pm and 10:30pm on school nights, and wake up at 7am. That’s more than 8 hours of sleep! I’ve been well-rested, in a good mood, and motivated everyday and I swear sleep is the reason why.

Midterms came and went and they went pretty much how I expected. In the beginning of the year, they emphasized that grades shouldn’t matter at this point because most of us have full-time jobs lined up after graduation. I’ve been taking this to heart and overall just trying to learn as much as I can without putting the stress on myself to get the highest grade in the class, etc.

I’m sure someone other than myself in the program is questioning whether they’ll be in tax for the long haul, and honestly I’ve been thinking about this every week. Recent opportunities have presented themselves (like working in London? Maybe?), and I’ve just been wondering what it would be like to try new things. I’m reaching that prime age for a quarter-life crisis which is why I’m questioning everything now, haha. Like what about my dream job of working in the publishing industry? And literature? One of my classes this quarter is in tax research, which involves more writing than the other classes and it’s funny because I seem to be one of the only students thoroughly enjoying it. Since I’m still young, do I start with my dream, or do I end my career with it? One of my friends from undergrad recently got hired to work at The Wing in NYC – like how cool would that be?! There are so many possibilities and things I’m excited about, and I wonder if I latched onto a career in accounting and tax too… fast? I remember being a sophomore, a junior, and senior in college, and feeling so sure about the direction of my career while mostly everyone else around me was floundering. Ha, funny how things work out.

I think it’s times like these where it’s not only crucial to talk with close friends & family, but also mentors. I’m dedicated to making the time to discuss these questions in the coming months. I definitely still want to work on getting my CPA (I really don’t think it’ll be that bad of a process), but I also want to continue exploring my options.

How have you been doing?

life update – october 2018

Happy Halloween!!

Whew, it’s been a hot minute! What’s everyone dressing up as tonight? I think I’m going out as Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – too bad I don’t have a Kavinsky 😪 October got so busy so fast – let me catch y’all up!

@Nuna Ramen – taken by one of closest friends with her disposable cam!!

I just want to say that life is so good right now. I’ve always been happy with how I spend my day-to-day, but I’m particularly happy with how balanced my life feels, academically, socially, and mentally. It’s my senior year and I think I’m doing it right so far.

I don’t know if it’s because Seattle was blessed with two full weeks of cold but dry weather, but it put me in the best mood. I’m still getting used to having so many social events on my calendar (why is October so poppin’?! I’m not complaining…), but it’s been so rewarding and fun.

Football tailgate!

I went to my first football tailgate, so I’m glad I got to check that off my bucket list for this year.

@ Cafe Allegro – their Chai Spice Lattes are the best! Laptop wallpaper from The Every Girl.

I haven’t forgotten about my classes though! I’ve been studying hard (and doing well, thank goodness!) as well as still preparing for the GMAT exam on the weekends. The grind never ends, y’all.

@ Hot Cakes in Capitol Hill

I’ve been to the Hot Cakes before, but when Big/Little Reveal rolled around for my sorority, my little and I decided to take my G-Little for a treat! I forgot how delightful molten cakes are (and how sweet it gets). I wasn’t expecting for it to be so busy on a Friday night but there were so many couples there!

@ Raised Doughnuts

The next morning, I headed over to Raised Doughnuts with my best friend Hannah! I had been eyeing this doughnut shop since early summer and finally made it over as soon as the doors opened on Saturday. Even the fog was still out! 

I got the Raspberry doughnut holes and an Apple Cider – it was all so good. Definitely smaller portions and higher price, but amazing quality. There was even a pupper trotting around the shop!

Besides eating too much sugar this month, I’ve also been trying out spin classes! I finally bit the bullet and tried out City Cycle and Flywheel. I love getting sweaty and being sore for the days following, but my main issue right now is that I think I’m slightly too short, even when I adjust the bike seat to the lowest height 😪

Other quick updates:

Current read: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Currently watching: Riverdale – it’s so awful this season though so I might give it up. My roommate and I did just watch Twilight the other night; y’all it is SUCH a mood. 

Currently listening: Lauv’s most recent album, I met you when I was 18. Every song is SO CATCHY. This album’s been on repeat for the entire month. 

I’m excited to be celebrating my 22nd birthday next month!! 22 is so boring though – the only thing I can do is play Taylor Swift’s 22 for three minutes and call it a day. Honestly, knowing myself, I’ll probably celebrate with a few drinks and a bag of Hot Cheetos to myself.

What have you been up to this month? 

incoming senior year thoughts

Hello hello!

I feel like it’s been awhile since I sat down and just wrote down what my thoughts are at the moment. The first (not even full) week of school was crazy, hectic, but so energizing seeing everyone again. I was able to catch up with a lot of friends and kind of think about where I want to take my senior year.

Everyone knows that senior year is supposed to be fun; and for some, it’s stressful because of the job hunt. I’m beyond grateful to know that I’ll be interning at a different firm for this coming summer and then my Masters program (hopefully!) in September, so I’m kind of in a different boat. It’s not like I’m void of responsibilities and can completely let-loose this year; being president for a club is definitely a lot of work. However, I feel like I’m in a weird limbo where my calendar isn’t full enough and I want to be doing more.

I could definitely fill up my time studying for the GMAT, or ensuring I 4.0 all of my classes; lately though, I’ve been wanting to try new things and dip my toes in different parts of Seattle. If that means finding a second job at a fitness studio or volunteering for a performing arts hall, I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I want to embrace the opportunities that are in Seattle, and not necessarily just on campus. This is really the only time I have left that I can be juggling other activities before I start a full-time job, and I want to experience and continue learning while I’m doing things I love. It hit me this week that it feels like my time is running out, like there’s an hourglass and the sand is almost all gone from the top.

I want to keep up with the dance company I’m part of on-campus, and get back into shooting for the blog. I want to continue discovering new reads and have an increasing knowledge of new releases in the publishing industry (sadly, did not reach my goal to finish my list of books over the summer). But I also want to continue educating myself in the accounting and business world since that’s what I’m primarily taking my career. So much to do, so, so little time.

One of my main focuses for this year is to help younger students out too, specifically, underclassmen. Mentorship has become such a huge part of my college career and I definitely attribute my excitement for leadership to my mentors. I just want to impart some of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gathered to someone else this year, and hopefully inspire them to be the best version of themselves.

It’s just crazy to me that I only have two quarters left of undergrad. Like, who’s allowing me to leave already? I feel like I just recently got into the swing of things and truly, I don’t want to be done. It’s funny because people hate returning to school after an internship because they get a taste of what it’s like to have a full-time job for 12 weeks. Me? Nope. I loved my internship (more on this in a bit!) but I also love school. Some of my older friends have confided in me, saying that I better take advantage of meeting new people in my classes before I graduate, because apparently it’s that much harder to meet people after college. Like, making new friends when you’re an adult is hard. I think my social anxiety just went up ten notches 😂

One of my favorite things that I realized about myself this year is how much I grew to love the airline industry. Going into this internship, I knew nothing about the industry, and was a lot more interested in the retail/tech industry. But airlines? Okay, I’m willing to learn. And the more I learned, the more exciting it all became for me. Of course, traveling made it so thrilling, but even just the SeaTac airport feels like home now. Understanding airplanes, customers in the airline industry, and competition has been engaging and I can truly see myself returning to the industry, if not my exact firm, one day.

I’m not even sure what this blog will become in the coming months. After having an easy blog topic to post about every week this summer (travel), my life seems boring compared to what it was, so TBD.

What else is there to think about? I still have so much to mull over but these are my thoughts at the moment, post-week-one of senior year.

What year are you starting? Your thoughts for the year?

 

end-of-year celebrations

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How’s everyone doing? I can’t believe school is over in just two short weeks – I’m almost not ready to let go of junior year. Last week I reflected on the year, but today, I wanted to share with y’all the crazy events I’ve been attending! I don’t think I’ve ever been invited to so many cool things in such a short period amount of time; they’re mostly end-of-the-year banquets held by student organizations, but it still gives me and excuse to dress up. The weather’s been absolutely lovely too (that photo above is from my run to Gasworks Park!!).

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Two weeks ago, I attended a spotlight dinner held by my business school: it’s where we highlight faculty, students, and the organizations for the year. It was a pretty nice event! I’m wearing my grey dress from Banana Republic (old) with a huge bow in the back. This was the perfect event to wear it to!

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Last week, my business school held a Pub Crawl and I went mostly in part because my student group was running it, but also because I’ve never been on a pub crawl! I showed up late because I was at a scholarship reception in Bellevue, but for the time I was at the pub crawl, I had a great time meeting new people and catching up with old friends.

The next day, I was invited to a social for one of the accounting firms and y’all, it was at the Columbia Tower Club!! I’ve been to the Skyview Observatory (way cheaper than the Space Needle, and it has a view of the Space Needle itself), but the club is two floors higher and has an event space. Before attending, I had heard to visit the women’s restroom – like it was a must. Curious, I went, and indeed, I see why:

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Is that a view or what?!

Later that night, I went to my good accounting friend’s sorority formal and danced the night away in Capitol Hill. The next day, I went to a business fraternity banquet with one of my close friends in my sorority. It was so fun! I wasn’t able to get good pictures at the venue in South Lake Union, but I did take a mirror selfie before I left the house:

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Spring quarter is never-ending with the banquets and celebrations – in fact, I’m going to another one tonight, lol. Looking at my calendar, it looks like tonight’s is my last one, but I will be heading to a gala in a few weeks (eep, that means long dresses!!). Thank goodness though because it’s definitely time to buckle up and study for finals for the next two weeks.

What have you been celebrating these past few weeks? As always, thanks for reading!

Jen

junior year x reflection

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Junior year’s been confusing.

It’s over in a little more than three weeks, which still blows my mind. This year flew by. I don’t even know where it went: just a year ago, I was getting ready to embark on my three-month long Europe trip, and now a full year has gone by and I feel like it was just yesterday.

Throughout this entire year, I felt like I was in a weird funk. I wasn’t myself, not how I used to be, at least. It felt like I was wading in the dark for awhile, but I didn’t necessarily know what I was looking for. I kept up appearances – and I think I even tricked myself into thinking I had my stuff together most of the time – but to be honest, I don’t think I’ve found what I’m looking for. Part of me is attributing this confusion to coming back to the states after being abroad for three months, like, did it really change me? Is this extended reverse culture shock? I can only use my being abroad excuse for so long. Maybe I just need to face the fact that I really am in a transitional phase right now.

I’ve come to the realization that people are coming to me for advice now, and I should probably have things to tell underclassmen. I’ve given pretty good answers so far, but now that I’m thinking about it, what have I learned in my three years as an undergrad? What advice do I have to give that will help shape a freshman, sophomore’s time remaining? What can I say that will make them look forward to learning more?

My priorities are different now. I meet younger students and see my old self in them: curious, sheltered, and even a little naive. I think that’s when you know you’re not the person you were before. It makes me want to shake their shoulders and tell them to open their eyes because there is so much out there.

I hate how angsty I sound right now, but I’m really just shook by how much growth there seems to be in challenge. My classes were really hard this year, and I’ve been struggling. What used to be above-average grades are now transitioning into average, and even a few times, below. But there are so many other amazing things happening in my life that I can’t seem to justify to keep my grades at top-notch standards. Sometimes I really do feel like opportunities were lost because I had to stay in one too many nights to study for a test, and I really think I’m done doing that. Don’t get me wrong – school is still extremely important to me, but not just my classes: it’s about relationships and community-building, too.

And yeah, I was really good at maintaining my goals for the year for all of winter quarter, but then spring quarter happened and I barely R&Red – and it sucked. This past weekend was the first time in awhile where I got to breathe and have (almost) nothing on my Google Calendar. I watched Riverdale for three hours and it was awesome.

My proudest accomplishment? I think I helped a lot of people this year bring a lot of clarity into their lives. It sounds weird, but it feels really good to help other people. I love it. Giving advice and helping others reach their goals, especially when you know they have so much potential.

Was junior year the best year of college? No. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted all the time, but I think it was a realistic portrayal of post-college life. From here on out, I will have to continue learning how to juggle more things at a time and maybe even step my time management skills up a notch. I remember the days when I had a clear inbox; nowadays, I have to set aside time to answer all the emails I get. I must say that junior year has been my healthiest though: I’ve been sleeping a lot (6.5-8 hours every night!) and I haven’t caught any colds this year, so I’m pretty happy about that.

I’m excited about the things I accomplished this year. There were definitely some downs, but so many UPS! I think mostly every minute of hard work has paid off, and I know once I finish my last final, it’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I’ve already scheduled some end-of-the-year plans with my friends to celebrate (they’re before my last final though, so, woops). I’m savoring every last bit of college because I’m graduating early from my senior year – what a thought.

How was your year? I’d love to know. And as always, thanks for reading.

Jen x