Thursday, September 13, 2012

MBTA Academy

"We must remember that one man is much the same as another; and that he is best who is trained in the severest school."  -- Thucydides

No one actually asked me this, but if they did, I'd say the best part of the whole back-to-school experience is the schooling itself.  I can avoid the "hic-a-doo-la" fun events (that's a Family Guy reference that I'll explain in more depth at another time), and it's easy to do so because I have a family back here.  Even on a relatively *short* day, I'm leaving home a shade before 6 a.m. to return around 8:30 p.m.

But as I've written about earlier, that's not wasted time, because the commute is spent either reading or walking (two of my favorite activities, both of which I plan to keep up until my time here runs out).  As for the learning and the classes, they are nothing short of awesome (and the setup makes me wonder why more undergrad classes aren't taught in a way that encourages participation and puts a fear into everyone that they might be called upon unexpectedly...but again, another story for another day). 

One major advantage I have is the commute to North Station each morning.  The way I use it reminds me of something a friend's Dad said about going through Parris Island in the early 1950s.  "Here I was...this city Jewish kid from Queens who had never picked up a rifle before and barely knew which end the bullets came out of mixed in with a bunch of country boys who had grown up doing this stuff.  And guess what?  I outshot all those guys.  And I did it because I just listened to everything the [Gunnery Sergeant] said, word-for-word.  Those other guys thought they knew it, so they just blew it off." 

You might be able to guess where I'm headed here, but as someone coming from a non-consulting/banking/accounting background, who didn't have a Quant-heavy undergrad experience, I am starting off a tad bit behind.  But with fifty uninterrupted minutes each day, each way, plus the occasional EZ Ride (the blue buses down Nashua Street from right outside Red Auerbach Way) and the occasional LRTA Big Green Machine on days I don't feel like walking, I have lots of time to study those things.  And to read the Wall Street Journal, something we get told to do all the time but almost no one actually does. 

And why not?  Because they're (busy x 3). 

Again and again, I'm seeing this stuff paying big dividends.  I am in there each morning, Game Face on.  I'm not "That Guy" in the sense of trying to dominate a section, but when questions come up, particularly involving outside general sort of issues, I'm not gun-shy, either.  When I don't understand the Monty Hall probability, instead of nodding along, I ask.  When I still don't understand the concept, I use YouTube (and now I do get it, thanks to the British folks who brought us the video below).  Beefing up on Statistics with COOP-purchased workbooks means that when I hear "Greg, why don't you walk us through this one?" I can actually do it, whereas if I had just tried to learn the concept being discussed as it was being discussed I quite frankly would not have been able to. 

I haven't gotten into the Clubs yet, but I'm going to ease my way into that as the schedule settles out somewhat.

For now, I'm just happy to be in the environment that I'm in.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that there's a real world, and there's debt, and there might be an inverse relationship between the *safety* of a job choice and the limitless set of options that currently feel like they're on the table. 

But for right now, all of that can wait.  I'll just keep being a 17th-grader. 

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

No, it doesn't make sense, but I am going to spec it.

Regards  —  Cliff