Monday, September 13, 2010

What the health

Today I went to the health center to refill a prescription, only to discover that there was no such place. There was a sign on the front door that instructed me to visit the new-and-improved health center, not too far away. I did, and here is a picture. Just to the right of the picture is the Grove Street Cemetery. I'm one of those people who is petrified to use the word ironic lest I be slaughtered by uptight wordsmiths, but I think it's at least a little amusing that the new health center overlooks the graveyard.

My tip-top physical health will soon be accompanied by a whiter, healthier smile, now that grad students have access to a dental program. Last year there was a hot campaign to make this happen, and now it has. Grad students also have access to a vision plan. Dental is $140/year, and vision is $50. I look forward to my visit with Dr. Whomever once the plan kicks in on Oct. 1.

Tonight, the first-year students are having their first exam, a midterm in the Probably & Statistics course. I loved and rocked that exam. And, speaking further of first-years, tomorrow night will be their first foray into the Leadership Development Program, or LDP. It's a two-hour evening session that meets eight times throughout the year, intended to give students a chance to reflect on their values, commitments and leadership styles. I am a second-year adviser, or SYA, which basically means being a TA for this class. Last year, our LDP group was also our international trip group, so we got to know each other quite well on two fronts. They've changed that this year, however, in response to concerns that a few of the trip groups, which are self-selected, were not diverse. Specifically, it seems one group was all men pursuing finance careers; I can't imagine trying to get those guys to sit in a circle and open up.

But first-years don't get to have all the fun! I had quite an enlightening day. We had a guest speaker in Venture Capital, Konstantine Drakonakis, who told us about his firm, LaunchCapital LLC. (Venture capital is money used to sponsor somewhat risky entrepreneurial endeavors, like new technologies.) He explained how they find deals, what they look for in entrepreneurs and so forth. Titanic is my favorite movie.Then I had Theory of Media, my film-studies class, where we discussed a new critical theory that emerged in the 1930s that challenged the idea that photography and film were "art," since they required machines to do the actual work and since these forms of media not only have no "original," but by nature they are conceived with the intention of having limitless copies. So they lack uniqueness and are thus in a different category from art. In my third and final class of the day, Corporate Finance, we discussed a case we read about Ameritrade, the discount brokerage firm, which in the case (back in the late '90s) was considering major technology and advertising investments. The question was whether the project was a good idea, given the risk and cost of capital and so forth. So our prep work involved some thinking about the nature of the projects and the company, as well as some mathematical mechanics and statistical trickery.

See, I do some learning, too.


  1. Bravo for whiter teeth! Hopefully, they won't end up in the cemetary any time soon!

  2. Leadership Development Program offers a wide variety of opportunities for students that complement their classroom experience

  3. The idea of a health center next to a cemetery reminds me of the last time Chris and I drove into Chicago--we passed a building (looked like a hospital) that said "Resurrection Healthcare" on it. it maybe a bad idea to give a healthcare company a name that conjures up images of zombies and the Thriller video? I'm just saying.