Badassery Magazine December 2017 Issue 19 - Page 9

I ’m finishing up my last semester in grad school – a Master of Science in Mer- chandising/Business Develop- ment. It’s been overwhelming. With being a single mom of three kids (who are with me 98% of the time), building an entrepreneur- ial business which means clients calls and emails all day, and classes. Papers. Projects. Tests. Readings and research. Plus all the kids’ things: their school- work, projects, activities, med- ical/dental/eye/therapist… I’ve been clinging to a scrap of drift- wood trying to not go under the waves while choking on foaming sea water that stings my eyes. O ne particular class is so far outside my strengths as far as topic and what I’m supposed to do – besides being more work than any three classes I’ve taken combined – and I had a research paper to do on Under Armour. I’m not athletic, and I don’t buy athletic wear, and so requiring me to write a paper on an indus- try I do not patronize nor value personally, to mandate a level of interest enough to write an irenic paper…it was a struggle. I found aspects to connect with, and I was really proud of the paper I turned in, having worked my ass off for it. as a culminating experience in order to prove I earned my de- gree. Two positive comments (in 22 pages of writing), and all the rest said I “missed the point”. Her contention? The premise was an analysis of UA’s strategy using 5 industry trends with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat) assess- ment, and future recommenda- tions. She intended for me to use numbers: profit margins and shit. I hate numbers and math. My approach targeted the problem by looking at the entrepreneurial venture strategy (because this is how he got started, which laid a foundation for making sug- gestions – at least in my mind; further, as an entrepreneur it’s natural for me to connect on this level) as well as head-to-head product/service analysis with his biggest competitors (Nike and Adidas), and a cognitive/behav- ioral analysis of decision-mak- ing skills. Because these are my strengths, because I’m really fucking educated on these topics and expert at discussing them. And then I got my feedback and grade. I’m offended. So I pushed back: I’d like to hear what you think I did well, I wrote, what you liked, because right now I’m rather demoral- ized. Translation: why the fuck did you give me an A and tell me it’s well-written if you obviously hate it? I’m confident enough in my writing abilities that I was not surprised to receive an A and assessment of “well-written”. But then I finally read her comments – which only bother me because I have to resubmit the whole fucking paper to my committee In editing…okay, it needs some refining. However, it’s a really good fucking paper. Solid damn analysis and literature review. I answered the question – just from an outside-the-box angle. Typically I’m lauded by pro- fessors who are in awe for my ability to approach the problem by presenting a valid and sub- stantial point of view that no one else saw. This one…seemed almost perplexed: why would you approach it that way? I’m struggling with this because, as a culminating experience, shouldn’t I get to decide what was meaningful to me? How to apply things to my real-world professional endeavors? Isn’t the point of higher education to teach critical thinking skills such that the student (me) can then take the concepts and apply them as needed, tweaking where necessary? Because let’s be real: since when did classroom tech- niques translate directly with no alteration whatsoever onto a real-world scenario? If it does, it’s a unicorn. I’m not rewriting this entire paper. It’s solid research and well-founded arguments. I ana- lyzed the business strategy in a way that is meaningful to me and that permits me to operate in my strengths, while still answering the research question. I’m de- fending this paper, and I think for resubmission, I will write a personal statement explicating my point of view, why the angle I took is valid – and why it’s appli- cable to me. I’m very much into learning about my personality, my incli- nations, operating from a strong foundation of my strengths such that I’m not recreating the wheel every time. I don’t have time or energy for that shit anymore. But I know myself, really well at this point, and part of what I’ve learned is to stand on myself. To 8