Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Get Lost

It's a beautiful thing when your biggest problem when you wake up is trying to choose between whether you should sleep for another thirty minutes or for another forty minutes. 

I saw Greg, one of the incoming freshman that I had met during lunch on Monday, as I sat on one of the many pillars by the Low Library to finish homework and read a bit. We didn't talk very much but I enjoyed the silence and was just happy that I happened to see one of the few people I had met during the past week.

In an effort to add a little variation to my morning life, I grabbed a green tea on the way out of breakfast instead of a coffee. Bad idea. Thirty minutes later, in class, it felt like all the life was being sucked out of me slowly but surely. Instead of jumping straight into the lesson, Mr. Mesznik addressed questions in depth, going off on the occasional tangent and explaining the basics of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), convertible bonds, and credit cards. Today's concepts, sans coffee's help, seemed the teeniest bit harder to register in my brain. One possible reason for this was a certain lack of interest on my part, derived from my need to see a direct application in my world or at least a world I was familiar with. And while I had at least encountered mortgages and other topics we covered beforehand, I didn't consider myself familiar with their applications. Although, I found his description of arbitrage and the "No Arbitrage Principle" fascinating. The example of arbitrage he presented to us was of going to two different grocery stores with differently priced strawberries and buying the cheaper strawberries to sell to the other grocery store with the more expensive strawberries to make a profit. The idea, however unethical, that one could make a profit without the need to invest any of one's own money by exploiting price differences was a new and captivating concept to me. 

After taking a much-needed nap before lunch I met David, a boarding school attendee in China, originally from Thailand. (I also officially decided that the cafeteria would be my "meet someone new each day" place) David, an avid business and economics student, had decided to take Globalization, a class that I had only heard about through Beliz, a girl on my dorm-room floor. He voiced his concerns about venturing into new waters since Globalization involved a lot more international politics and abstract ideas than he had anticipated which made things difficult especially since English was not his first language. As a native English speaker it had never hit me how much it affected those who weren't, specifically in academics, and only then did I really consider how big of a concern it could be, especially since such a large amount of the students in the high school program were internationally based. 

The afternoon session was interesting. 

The first half began with a seemingly complicated set of problems involving variables, calculations, and assumptions that looked like a jumble on the board and on the paper Ms. Santos was referring. Naturally, most of us were confused. And as Ms. Santos tried explaining it more, a lot of people became even more confused. It was only when she began to bring up derivatives and optimization, items I had covered in my Calculus class last year, when I felt myself ease into a more comfortable position, physically and mentally. Unfortunately, a good half of the class was still totally lost, if not more so, and we ended the class on a weird note with everyone wondering what had just happened in the previous two hours and what that meant for the next class. The different wavelengths of communication between Ms. Santos and us probably accounted for most of the problem. For example, in order to make things simpler for us, she would present more analogies and draw models but for some reason it ended up making us even more confused than when her explanations were more forthright. 

Is this the right path?
I visited Carmen, the beautiful modern dorm with a sketchy-looking garage entrance with my cohort so that they could do their laundry and then go shopping in Soho for a bit. Mark reasonably opted out because of the homework load and Izabel, Alyanna, and I left after getting a "to-go" dinner from the cafeteria that we ate on the Metro quite precariously. I found it both irritating and hilarious that we literally made one wrong turn away from Soho and ended up getting lost. Google was also being fairly unhelpful at the moment so we went old-school and looked at the map standing by a nearby bench to find our way back and came full-circle. The other thing I found hilarious was how existentially metaphorical it could have been interpreted as. (see next paragraph)

We came to a fork in the road and blindly and unknowingly picked the wrong path. Upon realizing our mistake we immediately tried to make our way back but got even more lost. It was only when we took a breather to think and find a reliable source to chart our new course off did we get back to where we started.

 And this time, we took the right path.  

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