Sunday, July 1, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

I am exhausted; today was the practice run-throughs for our hotel presentations, and it was rough. My group and I met up at 1 PM to decide if everything was ready for the TAs' and Mark's inspection. Our only problem was that Alva did not have any dress pants; so we both hopped on the bus, and I helped him shop at the mall ten minutes away. I'm not sure how much he knew - he did not seem to know how to use the changing room system (telling the number clothes he has, picking his own changing room, etc.). He also had no idea what size he was because it went by waist size and pants length (I think). Through a little trial-and-error, we found his size and the color he wanted. He also bought some shoes. Apparently in China, a nicer pair of shoes (like Nike or Adidas) can go for over $600!

After our shopping excursions, I went back to my dorm to work some more on my slides. After dinner, we all practiced individually in the computer labs; when our turn finally came, I knew there would be a lot of constructive criticism, but I also felt that my group was at least well-prepared. Sure enough, Mark liked our facts, but not the way we presented them.

I have just spent the past five hours fixing my slides and doing more research via my family (mostly my life-saving uncle, who is an economics teacher) on the stock market. Mark was looking for perfomance over time represented by a percentage. I couldn't find that exact data, so instead I settled for profit margin (representing a company's efficiency) and quarterly revenue growth by year (representing a company's sale improvement). Unfortunately, I had to spend an hour trying to redo my slides after PowerPoint decided it was time to corrupt files. Thankfully, though, I was able to finish before the lounge closed. Overall, it's been a long day. I hope presentations go well.

By the way, happy birthday Alex! I'm sorry I didn't know, but it sounds like you had a great day.

Surprises and a Little Work

Happy, Happy Birthday from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday so we could party too! Today we celebrated Alex's 17th birthday. Eric and I went down to the Donlon lobby early in the morning to pick up the cake we had delivered. We waited for everyone to show up in the our friend Matt's room (he had a freezer so the cake wouldn't melt) but we were missing one member of our group, Eric Wilson. We went to his room and banged on his door and called him until he woke up. After everyone was ready, we went to Alex's room in Risley Hall to surprise him. We had a party in his room eating ice cream cake as we joked around until it we could not eat any more ice cream.

After lunch at the RPCC, Eric and I went to class to work on the group presentation. While Eric stayed until 4:30 PM, I left earlier because I finished my work and relaxed with Matt, Eric Wilson, Calvin, and the birthday boy before I met Eric at the RPCC for a quick dinner. Eric and I ate by ourselves because the others weren't on such a tight schedule, and instead, wanted to finish their movie: the Matrix.

Eric and I went straight down from the dining hall to the computer labs, to work on the presentations. We arrived a little before 6 PM, and worked on the project. It was very, long, and our group was doing a dry run, to prepare for the actual presentation, at 9. We practiced and was getting everything organized for the three hours in between.

We walked into the room, ready to present our dry run to Mr. McCarthy. It well fairly well, and we only had a few errors here and there. It was a very long day, but after the presentation is over tomorrow, life will finally be a little bit easier.

A Very Special Sunday

I woke up to the knocking on my door the morning of July 1st.  I opened it to be greeted by my fellow cohort who were holding a birthday cake (with no eggs!).  I was so surprised and so touched to have them think of me.  We had a great time spending the morning in my dorm, eating cake and complaining about how much work we had to do today.  We skipped breakfast before heading to the Donlon formal lounge to continue our assignments for the weekend.  I completed the majority of the assignment before breaking for lunch.
My egg-free ice cream cake. Thanks guys!

After lunch we resumed our to studies but later headed to the television lounge to watch the Euro 2012 Championship between Spain and Italy.  Being an FC Barcelona fan I was rooting for Spain, who played an excellent game, beating the Italians 4-0.  Watching the Spanish national team play is really something; there is no other team who has such great ball control and possession throughout the game.  One of my favorite players, David Silva from Manchester City, scored the first goal of the game in the 11th minute to put Spain ahead. 

The rest of the evening was spent on schoolwork.  We swapped between revising our essay and taking (frequent) breaks.  We watched Liam Neeson’s Taken before calling it a night.  I had a great birthday spending time with my cohort and newly made friends. 

Tomorrow we will start with the teachings of English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, a supporter of individual rights.  I find it interesting that we will be studying John Locke after Plato, one who is strongly opposed to individualism.  This birthday on the East Coast has been amazing and really a great experience.

Final Practice

This time tomorrow, I will have my group presentation on Host Hotels and Resorts behind me. To be honest, I can't wait to finish this presentation.

Today, Frank and I woke up early to get Alex's egg free ice cream cake and met some of our buddies in Donlon before we went to surprise Alex in his dorm room. After we gave Alex his cake, we relaxed in his room eating ice cream and then made our way to the RPCC for lunch. After lunch we met with Mr. Chan-Law to discuss our plans for the next week. Frank and I then left for the computer labs in the Statler School of Hotel Administration to work on our presentations.

My group was the first group to have to do a run through with Mark. I thought we would have to actually go through and do our entire presentation, but Mark just asked us to show him our slides, speak briefly about what we're going to say, and practice our transitions. He then gave us constructive feedback on how to make our presentation better technically and told us he think we'll be just fine tomorrow. My group then did a full practice presentation with one of the T.A.s, Alexis, who told us that I should try to be more animated and that I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. We then spend the next hour fixing our PowerPoint before I sprinted back to the RPCC for a rushed dinner so I could make it back to the computer labs for office hours.

During office hours, I went through and tried to analyze every single detail and comb through trying to get  the best color combinations so that our presentation will look great on the presentation screen. My group then timed our practices over and over and over so that tomorrow can go smoothly.

Today's biggest hurdle was figuring out how Mark and Reneta wanted our presentation to be printed. There was chaos as several stressed students ran from lab to lab asking everyone how it should be printed. The reason why there was chaos was that the computer labs were going to close in 15 minutes and the T.A.s were being asked questions left and right.

Hopefully, tomorrow will not be as chaotic as the as the last 15 minutes of office hours.

The Birthday Boy

We started the day with an extremely unorganized meet up with all of us in order to surprise Alex for his birthday. Eric Wang and Frank went to pick up the ice cream cake while I had the task of waking up the others. The most difficult one was Eric Wilson. After about 20 phone calls I decided to go to Donlon Hall myself. When Eric Wang came back, we both (along with Matt) went over to Eric Wilson's room to bang on his door and call his phone again. Originally, we thought he might have been in the shower, but to our amazement, he actually slept through everything despite his phone volume being on high. Our surprise was delayed for about 45 minutes. We finally went to Risley Hall with Mr. Chan-Law to go and surprise Alex. For most of the time, we were more concerned about the cake melting than being sneaky. When we finally got there and said happy birthday to Alex we commenced the cake eating. However, the cake was rock hard and impossible to cut so our concern of the cake melting was all in vain.

Alex, Eric, and I spent most of the day working on our essays with some TV-watching thrown in there. After   finishing the essay, we met up with a bunch of people and watched Spain win the Euro Cup 2012. However, I ended up sleeping through most of the second half of the game along with Eric Wilson. After the game, we watched a little of The Matrix Reloaded, then headed up for dinner. Upon coming back from dinner, we revised our essays a little more and then watched Taken.

This day was mainly dedicated to work so not a lot of things happened. After a full week being independent, I think my time management has really improved; I find myself finishing all my work with enough time to wind down and explore other things.

Happy Birthday Alex!!!

Cutting the Cake
I awoke this morning to the sound of my phone ringing and a banging at my door. I answered them simultaneously and it turned out to be Matt, Alex ,Eric, and Frank who had forgotten to tell me about Alex's morning birthday surprise. I  had previously thought the festivities were starting at lunch. I quickly got dressed and cleaned up and we headed out to pick up the ice cream cake (egg free for Alex) from Matt's refrigeration where Eric and Frank had stored it. Then we walked down to Alex's room with Mr. Chan-Law to surprise him.

This was the first time I, and I think all of us, had ice cream cake for breakfast, an it was quite the experience. After we finished eating we walked back to Donlon Hall and met back up with Aflredo (who had left while we were eating). We again went over our plans for the next couple weeks. We spent the rest of the time before the Eurocup Championship  Game working on our essays. I actually fell asleep, along with Calvin, during the game and awoke to see, with a small level of disappointment, that Spain had won by a long shot. We watched TV for a little longer until dinner time. After dinner I finalized my essay and Alex and I proofread eachother's work and bounced ideas about the essay topic. Then we watched Taken for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow my second week at Cornell starts. It is easy to fall in to a routine, and I have become very at home. Every morning I wake up, shower, and clean up then head off to breakfast. The day varies, but every night ends up pretty much the same. After dinner is usually free time which I spend socializing until check in. After check in I spend some time with my roommate, then perform the general pre-sleep hygiene ritual and go to sleep. I am really enjoying my time at Cornell, and so far I have not felt overwhelmed or stressed out about anything. Having only one class, and complete control of my time makes getting my work done and still having plenty of free time an matter of only effective time management. This experience is making a more responsible person, and I feel like I am becoming much more mature. It is a great feeling, and an awesome thing to recognize.