Friday, December 17, 2010

Have a holly, jolly, neorealistic Christmas

Soon I will be on my way to Florida. For the first few days, I'll be having a great deal of fun at Disney World with one of my oldest friends. Thereafter, I will be down in Sanibel with my parents, who moved there 11 years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long.

Being there is usually pretty rejuvenating. This was particularly true last year when I was coming off of the notoriously hard first semester of business school. Coming off that turmoil, I saw the break as a great opportunity to get ahead for spring! So I started forging ahead in the textbooks for one of my classes, The Global Macroeconomy. It turned out that my efforts were pretty useless.

You see, in this MBA program, you can't really just jump into a textbook and expect to get ahead, because professors don't follow textbooks. This isn't 8th grade, after all. Instead, the textbook is usually an optional supplement to the lectures and cases, which are the real meat of the class. So, now that I've become aware of this, I'm going to resist the misguided temptation to drag my 1,000-page Investment Management textbook to Florida with grand thoughts of getting a head start for the spring.

But there are some things I can do to get a nice jump start on courses. One is to watch movies! I'm going to be taking a grad-level seminar next semester called New Italian Cinema, about Italian movies since 2000. This is the first time the class is going to be taught, and it's an outgrowth of another class the professor teaches on Italian neorealism, a genre about poor, working-class Italians post-World War II. When I met with the professor to get permission to take the class (which, with just 8-10 students, will be small enough that her permission in this case is rather critical), she suggested I screen some of the movies from the neorealism class as background. Turns out that almost all of them are on Netflix. So, since my mom is an avid film buff who majored in Italian and was born in the middle of World War II, I'm hoping she'll be willing to put some of these films on her queue and that she'll want to watch them with me. Maybe it can become a new holiday tradition, to watch depressing black-and-white foreign films. Ho ho ho!

There are a couple other things I can read over break, for other classes, that don't require the cooperation of my mother's Netflix account. One is the bestselling book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, which I bought a few weeks ago for my Behavioral Perspectives on Management course. We'll be reading what last year's syllabus calls "large excerpts" from it, although it amounts to only 105 pages total. So I may just read the whole thing, since it's supposed to be great. The other required book I've obtained is for my Strategic Leadership Across Sectors course -- "Firing Back" by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Andrew Ward. Sonnenfeld is also the professor, and kind of a big deal. Last year's syllabus required five of the 12 chapters, but, again, I might just read the whole thing. It's not as if I have a bunch of competing commitments in Florida.

I always have such good, studious intentions -- that's never the question. The question is how many weeks it will take before these good intentions dissolve into all-too-familiar procrastination and laziness. Fingers crossed.

1 comment:

  1. I'm half way through Blink -good, thought provoking theories.