It has been five years since I have taken exams, and these last two weeks have found me absolutely up to my ears in notes and book, with a grim determination to do well on these, my first set of graduate school exams. This was especially challenging considering the fact that I don't consider myself a quantitative person for the simple fact that I have never done well with numbers and my exams were financial management, statistics, and microeconomics. But you know something? I like my classes, and while I am so, so relieved that exams are over, I didn't mind studying and making sure that my mind really wrapped around the concepts. And i don't think that I did too poorly. But, we shall see. Since this is my blog, i will gloat for just a moment and say that I so far have an A in my Financial Management class (and yes, that does include the midterm). This really thrills me because I was so worried and I studied so hard, and I have this happy feeling inside like yes! I get it!
So, now with midterms over, I of course had to take some time to let my brain rest. So, after MPSO this afternoon (which, I really should have skipped with Melinda and Elly, I was so not present) I went with Melinda, Elly, Aditi, Jessica and Chris to Max Brennan Chocolates by the Bald Man. For you friends who are planning on visiting, this is one place you jot down in your notes as one place you want me to take you. It is a chocolate shop! And before you start thinking to yourself, yeah yeah, i've been to the Lindt store, let me mention that it is a chocolate restaurant. The entire menu consists of chocolate stuffs, like this amazing, thick Italian hot chocolate and fondue plate, like I had today, as well as a variety of drinks, sweets, and even some savory items to help balance it all out (all involving chocolate of course). My favorite item on the menu that i will one day have to experience was a huge syringe filled with chocolate. This is something I think for serious chocoholics and not something to be taken lightly. My doctor sisters would love this (hmm, Christmas presents?). While the food and atmosphere were amazing, the best part was just sitting there with my classmates, outside of the library and not talking about classes. We learned all about Aditi's wedding in India! I go to school with some seriously cool kids.
And, it being a rainy afternoon and my brain being turned off, I of course had to go to a matinee. Elly and I went to see the Darjeeling Limited, with Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody, and Jason Swartsman. 1) one of the best movies by Wes Anderson (and he makes some good ones). Seriously, it was meloncholy and funny and quirky in a way that painted this beautiful picture (with beautiful scenery) of the relationship between brothers. Loved it. I recommend it (although, let me edit it for friends who are sensitive to sexual content-- skip the short before the film, other than that is it clean). 2) Kind of in love with Adrian Brody. Something about him works so well in this movie. 3) So just so happens that at this theater we went to today they had the premiere for "Before the devil knows you're dead." And we just happened to run into Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Ethan Hawke! Well, okay, Ethan hawke passed by us without our noticing him, oddly enough. But, now i can say I had my first celebrity sighting. And that is pretty rad.
After this little break, i'm feeling pretty refreshed, but I sure am glad that I don't have classes again until next tuesday. Grad school is pretty awesome.
Recently, President Bush made a statement to the effect that if Iran pursued nuclear weapons build-up, it would lead to World War III. No, I don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons. But I have to wonder, how on earth did we go from the end of the Cold War to America fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and gearing to go to war with Iran as well. Recent comments by President Bush and Dick Cheney speak to the need to make sure that Iran doesn't get nuclear power, adn to ensure that, we may have to go in and do something about that.
This scares me. The other morning, I sat with my roommate Emily and we talked about potential war with Iran and the likelihood of World War III, and it suddenly became incredibly real to me. The current administration went into Afghanistan to get al Queda. Instead of finishing the work there and helping to establish peace, resources were taken to fight an illegal war in Iraq-- and yes, I firmly believe it to be illegal, and I am angry that the administration lied and continues to lie about the Iraq war. For the record, when the US went into Iraq, I was actually supportive because I thought that we went in to help end the human rights abuses. Not to send the world into a spiral of terror and hate and cause complete chaos in Iraq and the death of thousands of US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and to line the pockets of certain politicians. I thought that there was a plan. The fact that where we are now is the outcome and that the President can't admit that mistakes were made really upsets me, and it should upset all of us. Especially when we now are hearing rhetoric of going into Iran, for our security. Excuse me? This administration has plunged us into a new nuclear age. It has shunned diplomacy, and has shrouded its actions in lies and secrecy. It has thumbed its nose at all international cooperation, pulled out of treaties (such as the Koyoto Protocol and the nuclear arms proliferation treaty), created havens for actual terrorists, and caused a huge schism in the political life of the U.S. It has drained U.S. resources from things that would make the world a better place like education and public radio and civil service work to buy more tanks, to pay private defense firms like Blackwater, to run secret torture centers in other countries. And now they want to go get us into more debt, create more animosity towards the U.S., and potentially cause World War III with devasting effects for the next generation or two.
No. I am not going to allow this to happen. I don't know how yet, but so many people that I talk to agree with this sentiment, and we all seem at a loss of what to do. But we HAVE to do SOMETHING. It is our responsibility. I was reading an article today about the protest at the Pentagon forty years ago, protesting the Vietnam war and the effect that had on Robert McNamara, and I wish that we could do that. But I look at the anti-war protests and I see how they've lost their voice, even to those who agree with their message. I don't know what I can do personally, except talk about it, speak out at every opportunity, and get my citizenship so that I can at least make my voice heard by voting for someone who would be a better world leader.
How can we bring peace? Seriously friends, any ideas? We can't just sit back and watch another war start.
So, here at Wagner, I have to decide on a specialization for my MPA. I have four great options-- Policy, Financial, Management and International. I came to school thinking I would do management. And then I thought Policy. And then I decided no, I should do management. And then I went to some international lecture and realized that is where my heart lies. And then I decided that was too broad, so I thought I should do International Finance. And then maybe just plain finance-- all organizations need someone good with money and I do like that class. And then I decided I shouldn;t do international, but i should do managment. and then I went to my management class and it was so boring it made me want to cry. and then I thought that I'll just stick with International, but that was swayed when i started thinking that I've already done a lot with international and i should really do policy. Policy is useful all around. And then I went to another lecture on peace building and thought I should do international. And then I sat myself down at the computer and told myself that I have to decide on a specialization TODAY or I may be in school for 10 more years.
So I picked Policy. And you know what? I am really excited for it. I think I will be learning a lot of things that I don't know and learning how to apply those to things I do know. I like the idea of analyzing things and coming up with policies that work. And I have a have more electives than I would with International. So there you have it. masters of Public Administration with a specialization in Policy. Now I just have to pass these midterms....
one final note. I am having a moment of missing friends. I love my life here but I jsut got really lonely for all of you folks out there that I don't see very often at all. loves to you.
I spend most of my time studying. Yes, here i live in a fabulous city, and my nose is usually in the books. It is amazing how much time can be spent reading things, and doing homework, and in study groups and lectures and more study groups and more homework and sleeping and buying furniture and more study groups and happy hours at the local bar to make some new friends to form study groups with. These next two weeks are going to be spent even more inundated with numbers and words because I have exams coming up. Yikes!
But that is all beside the point of this post, because what I want to write about is my study break this last weekend! Hurrah! I had a friend in town and so I studied really really hard last week so I could play this weekend. What a treat to finally explore my neighborhood and simply relax and soak up Brooklyn and the warm weather and the delightful company of my friend.
My neighborhood has a lot of Chassidic Jews, and for the Sukkoh holiday they were all over the place asking people if they were Jewish. I really wanted to say yes so i would get invited over for dinner in the little palm hut they eat in for the week, but alas, I had to settle for a good long conversation with this guy instead.
I have a fountain close to my house. It is a statue of humans versus mer-people and I think that the merpeople are winning. I went to the MoMA and got to soak in some of the most famous works out there. You may share with me in looking at the pictures.
I'm not all that impressed with starry night, but maybe that is just because too many people have it as a poster and I want to feel too cool for it. If i'm totally honest, then I'll confess that there is something about it. I just expected it to be a lot bigger.
Damian hanging out outside of the MoMA, which he finally got to go to after many mishaps.
Here is my roommate and friend Emily. We went to this totally adorable little French cafe for dinner the other night. It was so cute! And it is just down the street from me. I love this neighborhood!