I sold my couches!!

For those of you unaware of my couch saga, I purchased a couch and love seat when I moved to Orlando in Oct. 2006 to furnish my bare apartment. At that time I never thought I'd be moving back in with my mom, nor did I think I'd ever be moving back into a dorm. Needless to say both of those are now realities and after moving in with my mother in Oct. 2007, her 2 bedroom apartment suddenly became crammed with two apartments worth of furniture. You see, she already had a completely furnished apartment (what became my bedroom was a den) so now in addition to finding space for the furniture that formerly occupied the 2nd bedroom, we had to find space for my couch, love seat, kitchen table with four chairs and all of my random belongings. To accommodate this clutter, we turned the dining room into a storage room, pushed all the extra furniture in there, covered it with a sheet and pretended it wasn't there (which was tough). When I finally realized it would be more hassle than it's worth to move to Boston with all of my furniture (and pay to store it for 2 years), I decided to sell my like new couches the cheap way -- through CraigsList. It took more than two months of posting and re-posting my CraigsList ad (and subsequently lowering my price twice), until I was able to successfully sell my couches last night after a spur-of-the-moment call from a man in Titusville.

Around 7 p.m. last night he called asking when this week he might be able to come see the couches and before I knew it, we arranged for him to come right then and there. By 9 p.m. I had $600 cash in my hands (too bad it went straight to my credit card bill) and a lot more space in our dining room/storage place. Next up I've got to try to sell my mom's extra couch, our extra kitchen table and my mom's butcher-block sideboard. And then we plan to have a garage sale later this month -- currently 1/2 of our garage is packed with all the items we want to sell. There's so much stuff that I can barely fit my car in there!

Somehow I find de-cluttering so....well...cathartic! Plus, my mom always says that when you clear your life of all the things you no longer need, you make room for wonderful new things to enter. Too cheesy? Maybe, but I secretly hope she's right!

In HBS news, the Round 2 Admits received their admissions decisions the other day and the bulletin boards are back to being flooded with congratulatory remarks and get together invites. So far I haven't seen anyone respond to my original "Florida" posting. It would be nice to find a few more Florida folks at HBS so we can commiserate during the winter! Maybe Round Three!

In other news, I'm finally close to finishing my third HBS tutorial -- the one on Technology and the Internet. I've got to say it's the most boring one I've done yet -- no funny animation or cohesive storyline -- and sometimes I feel like I'm trying to learn a new language with all of the vocabulary thrown at me. I've already "failed" the tutorial (for this one there were 6 mini-quizzes and you needed a 60% on each to "pass" the tutorial) -- I got a 50% on the first quiz because I could not calculate something to do with bits, bytes, megablips, megahertz...well you get the point. Thankfully this was our "optional" tutorial, so failing doesn't have any repercussions and hopefully we won't have any cases on technology this detailed -- I never thought being an executive meant you also have to be an expert in computer science!

This weekend I am heading down to Boca to visit my grandparents and hopefully see one of my best friends, Tausha, who lives in New York but will be down the same weekend (Hi Tausha!). I can't wait to give my grandparents the HBS merchandise that I bought during Admit Weekend -- my grandfather has dutifully worn his Gator cap for the last five years so I think it's high time he replace it with a new crimson HBS one! I got a calendar for my grandmother -- she likes sentimental things like that and since she won't be able to come visit me in Boston, she can at least look at pictures of the buildings I'll be in every day and envision me there (sounds "out there" but it keeps her from feeling so lonely).

Back to the daily grind...!

This I Know...

Lately this blog seems to be veering slightly from the Harvard-bound topic, but seeing as HBS-related events have slowed (and will probably continue to slow for several months), I figure that dabbling in the philosophical and introspective every once in a while can't hurt.

Today I am inspired by a section in O The Oprah Magazine called "This I Know..." In the section, Oprah makes blanket statements about the things she knows about herself and her life. Personally, I find that in this ever-changing, twisting world, the things we truly know about ourselves can feel few and far between. But this I know:

1) Proud as I am to be a strong woman, I struggle with the "supposed to's" that are associated with my gender. I feel extremely lucky to have been born into the generation that I was, for today more than ever, women are given choices about the paths in their lives, and are (starting to be) respected for making what are sometimes unconventional decisions. But even with these strides toward equality, the world still makes decisions about the place a woman should have in society. She is to be the homemaker, the mother, the nurterer. Watch any cleaning supply commercial and I guarantee you'll never see a man bending down to scrub the toilet -- and if he is, it's only because he's eyeing a sexy female next door. When it comes to children, it's assumed that women not only want to be mothers, but that when the child arrives, she is to quit her job and put her life on hold to care for the home and the baby.

Why, despite the strides we've made toward equality in the workplace and in the political arena (we're not there yet, but almost!), does the equality not transfer to relationships and the home life? Which leads me to the second thing I know...

2) I want a family. I want the adoring husband who challenges me mentally and intellectually and who is my forever partner. I want the 2.5 children and a dog and the family dinners and the first steps and the trips to Disney World. I can see myself sitting down to dinner after a long day of work and feeling complete.

What I don't see is life as a housewife. I've come this far intellectually -- I'll be a Harvard MBA in 2 years -- so how could I ever throw away all mental stimulation to take care of a child, stay in a home day after day and relegate myself to watching soap operas and ironing my husband's shirts? It's just not in my future. I want to be the President of a company, have a great big corner office with a window overlooking a bustling city. I want to feel productive, intelligent, and successful in my day to day work. And then I want to pick my children up from school, read them bedtime stories and fall asleep in my husband's arms. But can both exist?

The answer to that question is something I don't know. I don't know if I can be the excellent mother I'd want to be and be a successful career woman and a loving wife. I don't know if I'll find a man who isn't intimidated by my ambition or career aspirations and who doesn't try to put me in a box and expect me to act like a possession. I don't even know if I'll change my mind ten years down the road and all of a sudden want nothing more than to have a baby and nurture it. And I guess that's part of the adventure of life -- knowing who you are and who you want to be, and wondering exact how, and if, you'll get there.

I'm the proud new owner of a Sony CR Series Laptop!

After many long weeks of research, reading product reviews and hearing (mostly disaster) stories from owners of several top laptop brands, I made the leap and purchased my Sony Notebook this afternoon. I settled on the new CR series in all of its pink girlicious glory. Here are the basic specs to those of you who may understand computer language:

  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T8300

  • 2.4 GHz, 3MB L2 Cache

  • 14.1" LCD with XBRITE-ECO™

  • Built-in 1.3M camera

  • Bluetooth capability

  • Multimedia controls and CD/DVD burning drive

  • 250 GB Hard Drive

  • Cosmopolitan Pink finish and matching USB mouse
I also added on the heftily-priced (but invaluable should the situation arise) extended warranty with accidental damage insurance, which like I said, I will hopefully never have to use. The notebook itself is gorgeous -- the exterior has a sparkly sheen to it and the keys are silver and metallic, which is a nice contrast. It's not all that heavy (~five pounds) and reminds me a lot of a MAC in style. I have yet to actually hook it up and try everything out -- that's tomorrow's adventure.

The whole purchase (with the 3-year, $300 extended warranty) came to $1,700 and because of a special they had, I got the USB mouse (and an extra USB mouse that is going straight on eBay) for free, plus a $20 discount. The salesperson hinted that the model may have gone on sale closer to the school season, but personally (borrowing from my economics knowledge here) the opportunity cost of waiting until May or June just seemed too high. Maybe it's my anxiety over procrastination, but I could see myself going to purchase it during a sale, and because of the discount, it being out of stock, or them not having the color I wanted or whatnot. The potential $200 savings somehow balanced out with the freedom of mind that I have knowing it's paid for and ready to go in the fall.

So what do you think, dear reader, did I make a good choice?

Exhaustion and Excitement: HBS Admit Weekend in Review

So much has happened over the last few days that I'll have to try extra hard to keep my thoughts in some sort of logical, cohesive order. Right now my mind is spinning, and although many of my anxieties about HBS have cooled, it's still overwhelming with all that must get done before I leave Florida in August!

Although I arrived in Boston Thursday night, the grand festivities began bright and early Friday morning with a 7 o'clock breakfast reception in Spangler Hall, a sort of Student Union if you will. One of the first things I noticed about the campus was the charm that all of the buildings possessed. Despite the campus being 100 years old, everything felt untouched -- the interiors still retained the decor of old, yet everything was clean, new and inviting. Spangler even had several working fireplaces, which to a Florida girl is quite exciting! Following the breakfast was a quick session of opening remarks, followed by a 90-minute class visit (I visited a first-year course called Strategy), a faculty panel session, lunch, a career development session and then a team building activity, which was supposed to involve a scavenger hunt around the campus. I'm not sure if it was the prospect of spending two hours searching for random paintings of boots (yes, this was one of the steps) or the indismissable allure of a cold beer after a long day, but my group collectively decided to blow off the scavenger hunt for another form of team building: a round at the pub. My group was fun: two Chicago consultants, an opera singer in arts management with the Met, a Brit, a former media analyst with NBC Universal and me. The diversity not only within our group, but within the admits as a whole, was perhaps the most extraordinary thing. We were all so different, but each of us truly had an interesting background and somehow a common bond that made impromptu chats about any subject feasible.

After our scavenger hunt, I headed back to the hotel for a much-needed break, which ended much too quickly, and before I knew it, my roommate at the Hyatt (Ami) and I were heading back to campus for what turned out to be a beautiful dinner hosted by current students who were strategically placed at each table to answer any of our questions. The evening concluded with a rousing party at Tommy Doyle's (an Irish pub) and/or Redline (a swanky martini bar) where I was extraordinarily happy to meet up with Lauren (one of my best friends from high school) for some bar time and tea time before calling it a night.

Saturday we began again with a continental breakfast, but it coincided with a resource fair where you could ask questions about the health care program, on- and off-campus housing, career coaching and several of the industry-specific initiatives that the school has launched. This followed with a financial aid presentation (where I think everyone's mouths dropped when they mentioned the $96,500 loan package that students take out over the two years), lunch and then a housing tour. During the housing tour, our guide took us to "one fancy, one crappy" dorm (those were his exact words) and both of the on-campus apartments. While the apartments were gorgeous (a few students commented that this was "grown-up living,") they all come unfurnished and I think it would be more hassle than it's worth to ship furniture that far, only to move it 9 months later. The dorms were actually much more modern that I anticipated -- while only slighter older at 150 years, the UF dorms were literally rodent haven, but here everything was clean, bright and welcoming. The "fancy" dorm was gorgeous -- it was gutted and refurbished a few years back and the rooms were big with full-size beds, lots of light and plenty of living space. The "crappy" dorm on the other hand was literally a box. If you've ever gone on a cruise, think of the size of your stateroom and cut it in half and you've got the size of a "standard" room at Chase Hall. Literally, you walk in, take two steps forward and are in a tiny square with a bed to your right and a desk to your left and no more than a foot in between each. At least it comes with a private bathroom!

After the housing tour, it was a quick round of closing remarks before I headed back to the hotel, picked up my bags and shared a cab ride over to the airport, where I waited 3.5 hours before my delayed flight decided to leave. Overall, the weekend was an amazing learning experience and a great way to get to know my classmates before the fall. I was actually surprised at how many people still hadn't made their decision -- most were choosing between Standard, Wharton and Harvard, which I guess is a tough choice. I did meet a few people that I can definitely see myself forming friendships with, including one who went to college with someone I went to high school with!

I was definitely really proud of myself for pushing my boundaries and being as friendly as I was throughout the weekend. Although not all of my conversations progressed past the standard three questions that we answered 100 times throughout the weekend ("Where are you from? What do you do? What do you want to do after graduation?"), I introduced myself to everyone who would shake my hand, and smiled at even those that whizzed past me in the hall. I definitely look forward to seeing these people again in August to begin this "transformational experience" that all the current students praise. T-minus 5 months and counting!