Monday, December 24, 2012

It's been a while!

Ladies and gentlemen, I offer my sincerest apologies for not keeping up with the blogging this semester. Everything at school certainly ended up occupying more of my time than I anticipated. But I am still having a blast at Rotman and have been enjoying everything about the life of a second-year student.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post: the major differences between the first- and second-year life at Rotman. And what better way to sum this up than with a list?

1. Unlike last year when we had 18 hours of class per week, second year students have more like 10 hours of class per week. This obviously varies with the number of courses taken in the summer, the number of intensive classes taken over weekends and whether you decide to overload your schedule by taking 6 classes instead of 5. In additional to this, most people also have 1 or 2 weekdays with no classes at all, which means more time available to work on whatever needs to get done.

2. Second-year is also your opportunity to take the classes that truly interest you. Hated finance in first year? You won’t have to calculate a single NPV if you don’t want to in second year! Some people will take classes that will help them in their career, some will take ones they think will be easiest, and some will take classes that are completely unrelated to their chosen field in the hopes they will learn something brand new.

3. As an extension to my second point, because we are all taking different classes, scheduling times to work with classmates on group projects is definitely trickier. You may have classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but your group mates may have classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays plus an intensive all day Friday and Saturday. And if you’ve got five different group projects on the go, this can turn into a real nightmare. Luckily, it makes everyone infinitely more respectful of everyone else’s time if you’re all aware you can only meet for an hour over the lunch hour that week.

4. And as another extension to points 2 and 3, you get to pick your groups for pretty much every class. While this is a little relieving since you will know what kinds of people you’ll be working with for the rest of the semester, everyone starts forming groups as soon as they know what classes they are taking. So if you are really picky about who you work with, you may want to have your groups organized well before classes start in September.

5. Even though we have fewer hours of class per week than first year students, that does not mean we are any less busy! Nearly every second year student is involved with a club or extracurricular activity of some sort, whether it’s the Rotman Finance Association, Management Consulting Association, intramural sports or even the Rotman Wine Society. This year, I am on the executive committee for the Women in Management Association and the Rotman MBA Games team, and I am co-captaining the women’s intramurals soccer team with a classmate. Active involvement in planning activities for clubs takes up a significant amount of time. Depending on who you ask, they might say they spend more time on club activities than they do on their actual school work!

While there are so many other things I could say about how second-year differs from first-year (like the opportunity to do an exchange overseas, more flexibility to fit in a workout, and being able to actually sleep in past 9:00am) I think these are probably the five major highlights.

And with that, I would like to wish everyone a safe holiday away from school and all the best to you and your families for a happy new year!