Category Archives: Masters

What’s up, ketchup?

So as I always say to my sister when I greet her, “What’s up, ketchup?”

  • January 11, 2014 was my last post (not counting the first post I have written today). What happened after that? My brother celebrated his birthday and I wasn’t with my family. I was still living abroad, with my cousin and watching the hours tick by. I have met with my boyfriend as often as I can. We decided that we will still be applying for jobs in the US while we are still there. If we do not have jobs until the end of the month, we’d decide to leave the country.
  • I was not secretive when I whined repeatedly to anyone who would listen that I want to go back to the Philippines. It has been too lonely – I have been away for far too long. Being unemployed didn’t help either. I was left to my own thoughts most of the nights. I’d keep myself preoccupied by watching Netflix and Hulu. I’ve also revived an old game platform just to keep me busy.
  • I started daydreaming about the times when I was back in my country. I remember feeling so happy. It was ironic that in a country where almost every professional wants to leave, I wanted to come back.
  • The end of the month came, and I started telling my parents that I’m booking a flight back. My boyfriend suggested we wait a little longer because hiring period had just begun and his dad persuaded him to stay and try more.
    • In any country wherein help is limited and visa limitations are not aiding you, it is very difficult to find a job.
    • We’ve seen our classmates getting jobs, and we wondered how? Apparently, faking resumes are personally (to them) acceptable, politically accepted and “ethically” okay (because everyone does it anyway). It’s depressing. My boyfriend and I wondered why are we not getting jobs? We have strong resumes. Oh yes, we are not citizens and we do not have green cards.
  • Around the first week of February, I booked my ticket. February 20, 2014. I was ecstatic. I remember waking up the next day feeling so jovial because I’m coming home. My own worries caught up to me. As my boyfriend said, the pastures are always greener on the other side.
    • I thought, he’s right. What if after all this time, it wasn’t what I thought it was? All those memories before I’m leaving. What if I just chose to feel them because I was lonely where I was?
    • I had a feeling of dread. What if my friends are not as I remember they were? What if they changed?
    • One of my boyfriend’s friends told him, “Why are you coming back? It will appear like you are a failure because you’ve returned!” His main point was that we came to the US to not only study but to get jobs. However, who would want to sponsor a work visa for us when we don’t even have five years worth of work experience? I have also come to peace with that fact. From the beginning, I never really wanted to stay in the US. I stayed because my boyfriend was staying, and I wanted to tell myself that I have at least tried to get a job. (I should have just stuck with my plan because I kind of regret that decision for some reason.) But as they said, no crying over spilled milk. It was a good experience.
    • I also thought, what if I don’t get a job in my country? What if I hated it there?

to be continued…

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Arrived in San Francisco

So I finally arrived and staying somewhere in East Bay in my aunt and uncle’s house. I am now living with my aunt and uncle and my cousin’s family. My cousin has two kids, a ten-year old and a girl who’s turning six next Saturday. It would have been awesome but I found it quite difficult to talk to these kids. I mean, the youngest in particular, talks like she’s an adult and always crosses her arms when speaking to somebody. I know they probably don’t remember me and given that I’m not that friendly either doesn’t really help the fact that I’m already dreading living with them. My aunt and uncle are awesome, so are my cousin and cousin-in-law. It’s just the kids that I’m worried about especially as I am sleeping in their room.

A friend told me that he and four more other people are renting a house around 10 minutes from school. So I’m kind of evaluating my choices –

Staying with Aunt and Uncle

Pros

  • free accommodations
  • free food, utilities and internet
  • in-house laundry
  • with familiar people
  • the park is right in front of the house
  • so is the library

Cons

  • less freedom
  • hard to get around
  • limited late nights as most of my classmates will probably be in SF and events will happen in SF but since I have to take the Bart… oh well
  • have to get along with American kids (I am already finding this quite hard in my first night because they are just different. I find it weird enough that I’m talking to them in English when they have Filipino parents.)
  • have to walk to bus stop, then take the bus to the Bart station, Bart station for 40 minutes then walk again to school
  • crime rates increased and my aunt said that I have to be really really careful as there are loads of crimes happening especially with the recession

Rent an Apartment

Pros

  • closer to school – just ten minutes
  • living with friends = fun
  • have classmates/batchmates with me so I can consult stuff with them and go to parties with them
  • in SF so meet-up places MIGHT be easier to get to
  • convenient, freedom
  • don’t have to relate to kids, only with international students like me

Cons

  • will be way more expensive for me – rent + utilities; might cost me $1000 per month
  • the place is unfurnished so I have to buy my own bed, desk etc.
  • going to live with 5 guys (who are my classmates anyway)

So now I am really torn. I’m quite concerned with the expenses. Everything just feels surreal to me. It would be great if you could let me know your thoughts on the matter as I really need several opinions right now.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I have started packing my stuff. I haven’t packed my clothes yet but my books, shoes, bags and sunglasses are already in the box. Just four days left and I’ll be boarding a plane to Taipei, then from Taipei to San Francisco.

I’m probably more sad than worried in leaving and living in a new place. For one, I’m not even sure if I should stay with my relatives or just rent a room with someone. I’m not sure if my relatives would want me to live with them, or if it’s okay. On the other hand, I’m also sad because I will be leaving a great country, won’t see it for a year, and I’m also leaving all of the amazing people I dearly love here.

I have been meeting up with friends left and right, and it’s been amazing. I guess you never really truly appreciate people until you realize they’re going to leave for a while, or for a long time. On the other hand, I’ll actually feel how it is to leave people who love you. I realized as I was listening to John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane (that song is pretty much stuck in my head right now), that I will actually feel how it is to leave people, and all this time, it feels a lot like I’m always the one being left and now that it’s my turn, it feels suddenly new. I mean, I never really left anyone I love before unless I had to – like it would be for our own good, or cheated on me, or betrayed me. Now that I’m about to do it, should I feel excited? The thing is, I guess in this case, I will always know that I have people to go back to. It’s not like I’m leaving them for good. I’m actually very grateful that I am loved by all these people.

By the way, John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane is amazing. I mean, it got through me. Or I’m just being emotional.

Part VIII: Visa Interview

I finally had my visa interview earlier. It was relatively okay, I might have had a few blunders in the pre-screening, the one at the finger scanning was utterly adorable and friendly (I like him!) and then at the final interview, the consul was cranky. He had just issued a visa rejection to the person previous to me, and I’m not sure if he also issued a visa rejection to the person before that.

He only asked a few questions –

  • Where are you going?
    Hult International Business School in San Francisco, California
  • What will you be taking up?
    Master’s in International Business
  • Who will be paying for your tuition?
    My parents, and I received scholarship from the school.
  • Can I see the financial documents you have and scholarship letter?
    Would bank certifications suffice?
    Sungit consul: Everything you have. *I gave him the scholarship letter and just gave him certifications. He took a look at the scholarship and I had to explain to him what’s up with it. And then he looked at the certifications. I was honestly considering giving him the bank statements and the latest passbooks as well as it was taking him quite long looking at the certifications. He started writing numbers on the blue paper which are given to those who will be denied of a visa so I was kinda panicking inside if he was actually going to give me that.*
  • What and where did you take up in college?
    I have degrees in Development Studies and Economics from Ateneo de Manila University.
  • How much is the SEVIS fee?
    *I was going to give him the receipt because I heard/thought that he was asking for it. Apparently, he wasn’t.*
    Consul: I said, how much is it?
    Me: 200 USD
  • Okay, your visa has been approved. You’ll receive it in a week’s time. Next.
    Me: Thanks. *afterwards thinking, that was a really weird question… how much is the SEVIS fee?*

Anyway, there you go. My visa has been approved. I just have to pay the tuition and book a flight!

Part VII: VISA

Apparently I missed writing in my blog LOL

So here we go at one of the most anticipated part of studying Masters abroad. VISA.

I have started my DS160 application. I didn’t expect it to require too many information. I must have accomplished 75% of the application when I had to stop because I lack information and a fast and stable internet.

I’m also grateful that the business school I’m entering (Hult IBS if you’re curious) provides the students a step-by-step instruction on what to do next. If I’m doing this all on my own, I would probably be going in circles and/or Futterwacking around my room instead (for those who haven’t seen Johnny Depp aka Mad Hatter’s dance in Alice in Wonderland, you’re missing half of your dancing class).

Anyway, I still have to accomplish everything tomorrow. I might be dropping by the condo and meet up with some people or something. Hopefully I get to do more tomorrow! 🙂

Freedom

Well I’m beginning to think this post is somewhat overdue but nevertheless…

I learned around June 19, 2012 that my supervisor was resigning. It didn’t really come as quite a shock as on the day I learned about it, a little bird told me a rumor that two higher officials are going to be fired. Apparently, the true story was, two higher officials resigned, weren’t fired, and those two were my bosses. Upon learning the news, I didn’t know whether to be excited or not. I was quite dumbfounded not because they resigned, but because they were resigning before I am.

Two weeks before I learned of the news, I already told the bosses that I can only stay until the end of July since I will be taking up my Master’s soon and I have to arrange some things. Apparently, they had submitted their letter of resignation around that time as well without letting anyone know. They said they were waiting for a go signal from the big boss as their resignation might have political implications (*grumble… politics*).

Once I have learned of the news, I drafted my resignation letter effective the same date as those of my bosses. I was co-terminus with them and once they are out of the office, my position is gone too. Although the Office of the Secretary did tell me their intention of absorbing me back to their office again, I didn’t really want to repeat all those hellish days agaib. LOL and I’m resigning anyway end of July, what’s there to lose if it’s a month earlier? (I know it’s money but I don’t think it’ll be worth it).

I submitted my resignation letter to my immediate supervisor, CC’d the personnel last June 25, 2012. This was after I received permission from my supervisor to already submit it. It was effective June 30, 2012 as that was the date my boss’ resignation is effective as well. Looking back last week, I was really anticipating it. Monday morning, I barely want to stand up and get ready for work. I was THAT excited to experience sleeping in again.

Fast forward to today, I am glad I resigned. I do need quite a bit of time to get everything ready before I fly to CA. I’m actually looking for a more relaxed lifestyle before I jump in to the unknown again. However, only problem is, I have been getting restless. Maybe it’s the thought of I have so many things to do that I want them over and done with now, thus I am restless. Or maybe it’s the fact that I do know I have to do lots of things but unless I finish a very distractive (get the pun?) game of Burger Island, I won’t be able to move forward with my list of To Do’s.

So first two days of not having work… how is it?

AWESOME.

I already made progress –

1st Day:

  • went to the bank to open Route +63’s account (which reminds me that I have to also write about this)
  • went to the bank to withdraw payment for parents (yes, I owe them money)
  • had my haircut (oh this is an achievement! a long pending to do!)

From the waist-long curly hair, I really just had to request for it to be chopped off just above the shoulder. I must be insane.

2nd Day:

  • had my photo taken for the US visa application (yes that’s right, I don’t have my visa yet)
  • went to the nail spa and had a paraffin treatment for the hands and feet plus a mani-pedi (and I just love the color of the nail polish!)

  • went to get DQ blizzard (oh how I missed you! how long has it been?)
  • actually filled out a part of my US visa application (sigh… I really want to get this off my head but I would have to do this later… have to look at some other documents)
  • blogged about freedom and resignation (yes, to me, this is freedom.)

To be fair, I really do think I have accomplished a lot from the first two days of my freedom. We’ll see about the third day later. And yes, I really do believe that for me this is freedom from my previous job in particular. No one aside from those who have worked with me knows the extent of freedom resignation can give especially if you have been working there. LOL yes, I’m also exaggerating. 🙂

Part V: Leap of Faith

I was given more or less two weeks to confirm my place in Hult IBS. We told the relatives in California that I got accepted in Hult IBS and was wondering if I could stay with them. They live around 20-30 minutes away from San Francisco so it will take a bit of a commute but at least the accommodations are free. We also asked them about the school if they could check on it.

It was a series of email and phone discussions as my cousin was somewhat against Hult IBS. I asked for their opinion since they are the ones living in CA so they must know more about schools there. According to my cousin, it might just be one of those schools which are popping up but aren’t reputable or accredited. She refers to it as career-oriented schools aka vocational schools aka community colleges. To be honest, I didn’t know what to think. I sent her links of Financial Times and the Economist revies, and also the accreditation of Hult. It didn’t change her mind. She said it was not accredited when she checked the links I sent her. I wanted to make sure she was right.

I messaged a friend who lives in CA. I told him I got accepted in Hult IBS and he got excited. He told me it’s a good school and he was thinking of taking Masters there as well. I told him what my cousin told me. He actually has a somewhat violent reaction… he said my cousin must have been misinformed, and it might be some form of misunderstanding. He sent me some links which has a review of the school and some photos. He told me that my cousin must have looked at another school and not Hult IBS. Around this time I was already looking at universities in UK, possibly University of Edinburgh, or University of Surrey, or University of Nottingham (which has already sent me a prospectus). I was also bothered that Hult IBS is not as known or as famous as the universities. I checked the rankings again of the business schools. According to the Financial Times, Hult IBS ranks higher than the U of Edinburgh Business School. Surrey and Nottingham weren’t in the list. Lancaster was but it also ranked lower than U of Edinburgh BS.

I also weighed the program. I enumerated the reasons I could go into this business school –

  1. The Financial Times ranked Masters in International Business (which is what I’m taking) and Hult IBS ranked #3.
  2. Hult IBS is in the top 100 business schools around the world.
  3. Hult IBS is in the top 20 business school in the US.
  4. It’s AMBA accredited (doesn’t really apply to my course but it’s worth considering especially since the school is young compared to the universities)
  5. It has 95% of international students which means I would get to meet a lot of people from different cultures, therefore for an International Business studies student, this is already a plus plus in networking if one is to go into international trade.
  6. The program is more applied and less theoretical. One problem I found with universities is that they are all theoretical. Hult IBS, on the contrary, are taught by people from the industry. I can expect that I will learn from the people who know what they are talking about.
Also, it was taking me so long to discern that I was barely moving forward. Considering all of the above, even with the fear that I might not get a job immediately because the brand of the school is not that popular, I decided to take a leap of faith. I had been praying so hard about this and decided to go ahead even with my cousins against it. I told my mom I’m confirming my seat. I also emailed my cousin telling her what my friend told me, and what I had researched on etc. I also told her that I hope she can trust me in my decision of enrolling in that school.
The next morning, I received an email from her telling me that she’s sorry because she made a mistake. It seems that she was looking at a different school instead of the Hult IBS. She told me to go ahead before I miss this chance. She also asked me if I’m already 24. If I was, I must make a definite decision on the career path I wish to take. She told me that I wouldn’t want to regret not going if ever. To be honest, right now, the decision of enrolling in Hult IBS is still a leap of faith and will always be. I don’t know how different living in SF would be from traveling it. I will meet new people and I do not know what everything else will entail. I haven’t even taken care of my visa yet. I’m just praying that God will always be there to guide me and help me out.

Part IV: Almost There, But Not Quite

So a week after I had submitted my application, I received an email a few days after that which is a request for an interview schedule. The interview was scheduled a week after my submission of the application. I asked the person who emailed me who will be interviewing me and what would it be about. She told me it was basically about the future plans etc. I was grateful I asked, better than going blindly who you’re going to talk to. She said the Admissions Director will be interviewing.

On the day of my interview, I made sure I printed out my personal statement just to have a copy in case I would need it. The interview went smoothly and was over in an hour. The Admissions Director said I have a strong application and not to worry about being declined (which actually made me a bit worry even though I am confident with my application). He also said that somebody would call me approximately one week after for the results.

I need not say that it was a week of anticipation even though I am sure I got in. It’s still different when it has been confirmed. On the appointed time that the recruiter said she would call, she didn’t. It was more or less 30 minutes after that I received a call from her. And because I have the gift of foresight (just kidding), I was not mistaken. I got in.

I was quite excited and had all sorts of questions. I already asked about the scholarship and if I could enter on September 2012 (as I have applied for the September 2013 schoolyear). I was given until May 10, 2012 to confirm my slot for the SF Campus for SY 2012-2013.

And this led me to one of the most confusing week in all my life.

Part III: Getting There

Track back (because this is already way too updated):

April –

I submitted all my application requirements to Hult International Business School. It felt good that I actually have applied already for Master’s. One school down.

I received a call from the London School of Commerce. They were asking if I will apply to their school. I’m not really sure  about them and I’m still doing my browsing. They also informed me that in order to get a student visa, I need to have a “show money,” which basically translates to “I can live in UK for a year.” This basically means either begging from parents or loaning from them. Either way I am hoping I could get that much money into my bank account.

In other news, my friends and I are putting up a business. It’s been a long planned business which is only taking shape now.  I met up with my college friends (and business partners) last Saturday and they said me that they have already reserved the name of our business to the Security Exchange Commission. We just have 3 months to finish our papers then it’s all registered after that. One step forward.

I just found it really impressive how quickly things happened. I know that one of my friends and her friend was just discussing about the business. Week after that, they already had the name reserved and the initial meeting of the main management/”Board of Directors.” We’ve also had our initial strategic planning. I found it all so impressive because it was a “just do it” attitude. There were no qualms. This business is long overdue and it’s been talked about for a long time… and here we are. We’re about to have our own business, and a social enterprise at that.

Looking back on my experiences, whenever I have “just do it” moments I end up being happier than I would have thought I would be. I think the main problem with me, or with people in general, is that they’re too cautious that everything ends up delayed, taking too much time. To be honest, I don’t like meetings because I see them as unproductive, unless of course, it’s necessary. In government, most meetings aren’t that productive because the actions have to achieve consensus. And consensus is harder when you have lawyers around the table.

Time is essential. If you want something done, just do it without overthinking or overanalyzing. Sometimes it’s good to be reckless. Sometimes it’s good to just go ahead. I’m not saying do it all the time but recounting my experiences, it really felt good “just doing it.”

What have you done with a “just do it” attitude?

Part II: Making Choices

As continued from Part I: Discerning…

I  checked out some UK universities for my Master’s. I attended University of Liverpool’s web seminar on social media as a tool for marketing. I therefore conclude that I am not fit for a marketing job.

I started congratulating myself this morning that after a week of choosing between some random courses that I feel would be practical to take and I think I would like, I narrowed the courses down to two. It’s either I take International Business or something about Financial markets/Economics. I am just deciding now which school I should apply to, and limiting them to a maximum of 3. I have already applied to Hult International Business School, pending some requirements.That leaves me with  2 more schools.

The main problem that I have with UK universities is that they require IELTS/TOEFL. In US and AU universities, they don’t necessarily require an IELTS/TOEFL as long as you can provide a certification from your institution/university that their medium of instruction is English. So that leaves me with more or less 2 months to take an IELTS (I prefer IELTS) before I can actually apply to the universities.

In choosing the universities I also consider the following:

  1. If they have the course/specialization that I want to take (Durham University was out of the list because their specialization is more on research and sciences, and I would probably one of the last persons who will be accepted in such a highly distinguished university)
  2. location (how far is it from the city; would the town/city have all the necessary stuff I would need; what would be the cost of living)
  3. part time job availability (I am not sure if in US they allow international students to work part time but in UK and AU they do at a maximum of 20 hours a week. Coming from a third world country, it would be preferential for me to take a job while studying so I can make ends meet/help out with all the expenses)
  4. % of international students (this is very important for me since I would be studying in another country, a country which I haven’t even been to [well, except for US])
  5. scholarship (One of the reasons I’m somewhat iffy from applying to the University of Liverpool is because they don’t offer scholarships, and this counts a lot. It’s not cheap to get a good education.)

I am still browsing through some universities. I might already schedule an IELTS exam this week, right after I finish my personal statement for Hult. Cheers for me, and for all those ambitious youth.

To be continued… just because I have to continue writing that Personal Statement.