Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strategies to Survive Graduate School

As you know, I finished graduate school a month ago!! It was one of the best moments of my life!! I won't be a full-time student again for the rest of my life...haha...

Looking back graduate school, there were many hardships. Sometimes I felt myself going to break from all those homework, meetings, tests, presentations....etc. On top of school work, I had to find time to look for jobs, get involved in extra curriculum, make side money, etc.

Even though graduate school sounds difficult, there are strategies to help you to survive. DO NOT WORRY:)

1. Use a Calendar and Alerts: Everyday is filled with classes, meetings, and other tasks. It is very easy to forget things and lose track, so Google Calendar was my LIFE SAVER in graduate school. I put ALL the deadlines and appointment times. This helped me be organized in the craziness.

2. Write Daily To Do List and Prioritize: There are ALWAYS a lot in our plate in graduate school. Professors give us countless projects and assigns every day. Effective strategy was require to get everything done. In order to stay on top of everything, make sure to have good plan and organize what is more important than other. Time management skill was more difficult to learn than text book knowledge.

3. Work Smart (Hard): One of the key concept I learned in graduate school is "Don't Work Hard, Work SMART". Since time is scarce resources in graduate school, it is important to be efficient. Try to focus while studying or doing any other task. Once the focus is lost and become less productive, STOP and do something else.

4. Ask Questions and Seek Help: There are a lot of good resources in school. Since we are pay TONS of money$$$$ to the school, it is better to USE IT. I reached out for tutors for homework, I consulted the librarian for research paper, I asked my advisors for tips and strategies for job hunting...etc. Professors were very kind to answer questions after classes as well.

5. Mediate/Exercise: I realized my mood get extremely negative when I am burned out with school work and anxiety for the future. I tried to mediate and exercise as much as possible out of my busy schedule. My mood changes instantly after that. So use just 10 minutes once in several days to mediate. Try to exercise for just 30 minutes a day would be even more helpful.

6. Encourage Yourself and Your Classmates: It is important to be positive no matter what happens. I kept telling myself that "you are going great, and everything is going to be OK." Remember, you are not the only one going through this hardship. Your classmates are feeling it with you, so give them the power. I promise your encouragement means a lot to them.

7. Take Power Naps Here and There: Sleep is luxury in graduate school. Not a day in graduate school that I did not feel tired. I often passed out before I can finish all the task for that day. During those time power naps were helpful. Quick 20-minute nap can refresh my brain significantly.

8. Have Fun Once a While: Finding time to have fun is challenging; however, I strongly believe no matter busy you are, you can still "make" some fun time. Best fun idea for busy graduate students is "quick celebration after a presentation/test/any accomplishments." Every time I finished a milestone, I invite a few friends to get a quick drink, dessert, or hike. It is good to treat yourself once a while.
Although, graduate school was tense, but in the end it PAID OFF!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How I Fall in Love with Writing......

Happy Valentine's Day!! Valentine is NOT about having a boyfriend/girlfriend/date or not, it is about "LOVE." You can love your friends, family, and others. Today I would like to express how I fall in love with writing. I might going to write about how I fall in love with a guy many years later......

I did not like to write as I grow up. Not only I did not like, I HATED IT. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. I took writing classes to improve it, but it did not work as well. I learned how to write in a proper format, but I still struggled. I grow up in three different countries, so language was always a problem. I liked math class and I hated literature class from elementary school to high school.

When I was 21, I took a writing class in college as part of my degree requirement. I thought this class would be like the writing classes I took before where I did not improve anything; however, I met an awesome professor who changed my view of writing. He made his class interesting by having a lot of discussions for what we like write. Instead of spending hours on the boring grammar practice, we learned how to express our self in writing. Then he helped us how to put the thoughts in better expression. After that, edit the grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Like any other people in their teens and 20s, there were anxiety and insecurity in my life. I admit that I was very depressed in high school and college with stress and pressures; however, writing made me happy and less depressed. I feel I can be myself and get to know myself. It is the best way to mediate. The more I write, the better I got. First we all have to LOVE to write, so we will practice more. The more we practice, we learn more about grammar, spelling, and punctuations.

Writing not about grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., it is about expressing myself and reflect who I am. 

I admit that I still struggle with writing and every time I come to writing an email or formal paper, I get scared because I will make spelling and grammar mistakes. However, this would not stop me from writing. The only way to improve is practice. Do not get scared for making mistakes. Learn from mistakes.

Literature is wonderful. Do not stop writing. Everyone is a good writer as long as you have thoughts. Your writing is what you stand out and what is unique about "YOU."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Working in a Cross-Cultural/Functional Team

In my MBA program, we do various team works and they are often done in cross-cultural teams. Working in a cross-cultural team seems hard, and I admit that it is difficult sometimes. There are language barrier, miscommunication, difference in cultures, etc. I experience difficulties as well; however, it was very fun working in a cross-cultural team. It was easier than I thought. Here are the thoughts I gained from this opportunity.

In order to overcome the difference in culture and communication, it is important to have open communication in the team. I understand some cultures are more indirect than others, but we encouraged each other to be open to mitigate communication problems in working together. The next important strategy in a successful group is mutual understanding and respect, which means everyone should respect each other and accept to other cultures. Lastly, no matter which language we speak, we should have the same goal. Having the same goal would overcome the language barrier.

After my MBA program, I hope to work in an international company and able to connect with people across the globe. The benefit of cross-cultural team is that it is helpful to for the team to be successful in the long-run. Homogenous team would have less difficulties in working together; however, it is only for the short-term success. Cross-cultural team would never run out of ideas.

I learned although we are different, but all the cultures are interrelated. We all like get together and eat delicious food and have fun no matter where you from. We all work hard to make our dreams come true. Food and hard work can bring people together.
Let's United the World and Help One and Another!!
We are family!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

2016 Thoughts (Resolutions and Goals)

Haha......New Year's Resolution.....Every year I try to make them, but it is very hard to keep them. So instead of having a list of resolutions that I am not going to follow, I will express my thoughts about my plans and goals it in this narrative

I hope 2016 is going to be a good year in my life because it is one of the most important year in my life. First, I will be graduating from my MBA program. It is this May, which will happen sooner than I expect. I am not going to lie, I feel really scared. I have to get a job, decide my pathway, pay back loans, pass various licensing exams, etc. Before (also after) I graduate, I need work hard to build hard skills in order to adapt work successfully. I plan to study accounting, data analysis, operation, and finance diligently. Not only I must to work on my hard skill, but also learning the soft skill is necessary. I have to practice my writing skills and express my thoughts in a clear, concise, and direct manner. Although I know English, Chinese, and Japanese fluently, I still need a lot of work to use them in the professional manner. I have to master being a professional in general. A lot of part about me is still childish and immature. Having a good soft skill will help me get a job and build connections with other people.

This my main goals is to be unplugged from my phone. This would help me a lot to achieve my typical new year resolutions/goals. Unplugged from my phone would help me stay more focused in studying, so I can build my strong hard skill. It would also help me communicate with people better by not checking my phone time to time. I do not phones anymore when I eating with friends and family. Staying away from phone would give me time to concentrate in reading and writing various languages. This would definitely help me achieve my goals this year.

All in all, 2016 would be finishing graduate school, take various licensing exams, work on my hard and soft skills, grow up to be a professional, and stay unplugged from my phone.

Well this is it for now. I hope you will continue read my blogs in 2016....
I pretend to be a good student:)

Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 Memories

2015 was a great year, but was so good for this blog. I stopped updating since February because second semester of my MBA program was TOO INTENSE... then I got lazy in the summer. I am sorry for lack of post in 2015 (I even did not do this year review until after the new year). I promise to keep this blog updated (no excuses) in 2016 because this is kind of another part of me. I do not want it to "die."

Traveled A LOT in 2015: Been to Four Countries - Mexico, Canada, Japan, and the USA
1. Top Left - Cancun, Mexico: My first time in Mexico!! Understanding the language was a struggle, but we made work. Mexico has longer history than the US and I was able to watch the real Latin Dance. I even used the Spanish I learned in high school and learned more Spanish (I plan to do a separate post on this)
2. Top Right - Banff, Canada: It was such A BEAUTIFUL PLACE!! I have live in Oregon for many years and visit various beautiful places; however, the elegance of Banff still impressed me. (I plan to do a separate post on this) 
3. Bottom Left - Tokyo, Japan: It was my first time in Japan after 13 years!! I felt glad that school offered the opportunity to go to Japan as the international business study trip for this spring. Japan did change much as I expected, but definitely more globalized now. Visiting companies and meeting alumni were interested, but the best part was reconnecting with old classmates (I plan to do a separate post on this)  
4. Bottom Right - New York, USA: I have attended a career conference in New York. The conference was not as great as I expected, but I still learned many career lessons and inspired by other MBA graduates. (I plan to do a separate post on this)  

School and Friends: Although 2015 was mainly about intense graduate school, but I found fun in working projects with people and made friends

(Starting from the top)
1. Working in a Cross-cultural/functional Team: I thought working in this kind of team would be a challenging; however, it was a nice experience. This diverse team create more ideas and I learned many different working style. Cross-cultural/functional team would succeed in long-run than homogenous team. (I plan to do a separate post about the strategy to work in a cross-cultural/functional Team)
2. Making Friends: Although we all have busy lives, but we managed to spend time with each other. My graduate school has so many nice people from all over the world. I am glad to meet them, get know them, and hang out with them. I wished school was not so busy, so we could spend more time together and get to know each other better.
3. Helping First Years and Friends: I enjoy helping people. When I became 2nd year MBA student, I volunteered my time to help first years. I have always stepped up for my friends. I helped them as much as I can. It is not only I want to be a friendly person, but also I learn through helping others. I also get help in return.
4. Being Involved with Leadership Organizations: Being part of a leadership organization was more challenging than I thought. There were a lot of work on top of all the school work. However, it was paid off, I gained so much real life experience that would not learn from the textbooks. I liked work for students.

There are so much to achieve in 2016......