GRE Tips

In Feb, I took the GRE. It was simple. Though, I studied the wrong way for this national exam. I got average scores. Blah…

From my first try, I learned a lot. The GRE had been set up to test your ability to perform methods carried out in scientific research. For the writing section, you would not have time to collect resources. Then, again, it would not be allowed, anyway. Most of the writing would come from drawing resources and conclusions out what you already know. For the quantitative section, I would suggest reviewing mathematical properties and subjects Algebra and Geometry and, of course, connecting them to data analysis and interpretation. For the verbal section, you could build vocabulary and read faster, but I would not prefer it. Instead, I would prefer to refresh vocabulary you already have or should have according to your academic level and to read passages for comprehension rather than to find an answer in the passages. These answer choices would not be obvious at all.

For my next try, I would ace it. But, what would that mean? With my average scores, I was accepted to my MS program, anyway. Since not trying, again, would bug me, I would do it to improve myself and my score. Really, I would just be better at test taking. Make the A.

 

2015 Summer Catchups

Since the April riot in Baltimore, I have done some re-evaluating of my life. I find this funny. Most of my blogs discuss pretty much the  same thing—the re-evaluation my life. I have gone through many stages these past three years. Acceptance. Release. Now, it is purge. Oh, no, not like the movie. This stage of purge can be extremely exhausting. I know it is for me. My eyes keep shutting as I type. Basically, in this stage, I throw away anything, except my awards and degree, that reminds me of my old life. Anything no longer useful gets thrown away. As I throw away old memories, I cannot believe how long I held onto trash—and how much of it. What shocks me the most is that I feel nothing when I throw them away. I wonder if that is normal, or am I becoming apathetic?

Growing up, I have never been apathetic. I have always cared and treasured what matters to me most. Lately, once you show me how much you care less about me, I emotionally turn off. I become completely unavailable…damn near apathetic. And, another thing that shocks me is that I can preserve with it. I just do not know about this new person that I am becoming. Sometimes, I scare myself. Despite this change in me, many great things have been happening. For example, I got accepted into a MS program in bioinformatics and, also, into a national rigorous certification and job training program in health informatics and was promoted to a manager position. My new life will continue to get busy, but I love it. I feel part of something and can contribute my knowledge and experiences.

Every summer, I usually take a break from blogging to reflect. I have actually thought that I would use this blog to make some money, but my thoughts are much deeper than that. I have been thinking to turn Make the A into a nonprofit business generator and career center for independent professionals. The plans are in the works. Plus, I need to develop more expertise in career development and coaching. I enjoy helping people, but I am lazy at doing it. This online nonprofit will help out a lot of people trying to navigate the real world workforce. Interestingly, I will reach far more people being lazy than being physically exhausted. Make the A.

State of Baltimore

As we all know, Baltimore hit the news worldwide. A week ago, Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries. Not until Saturday, 4/25/2015, during an Orioles game, did I come across a violent protest on Pratt St near Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. It felt like I was there, but I was at home watching it on one of the major news channels. I didn’t pay attention to which one it was. I was in state of shock.

Three days later, I found out that a peaceful protest was held on the same day, 4/25/2015. Why must I found this out much later? No news channel covered this story. Several photos of the peaceful protest at City Hall were taken by Baltimoreans and were circulated on social media. Before the discovery of the photos, on Monday, 4/27/2015, a riot broke out near my place of employment (Mondawmin Mall). I was even more in state of shock. I was mortified. My anxiety began to creep.

Yesterday, the National Guard and other law enforcers showed up. This morning I woke up not long after curfew ended and said to myself, “I am in a real life purge.” I knew that I shouldn’t have seen neither movie.

Most of my life I have ran from Baltimore City. I made stupid decisions in my life, because I didn’t want to face the truth about me and where I was born. Today, I chose to stay. Despite colorism, I chose to stay. Despite the sexual abuse, I chose to stay. Despite the ridicule against disability, I still chose to stay. All these experiences because of living in urban communities came from anger. I tried to escape anger but took anger with me.

No program or leadership exists to manage this type of anger. This is spiritual anger. It is now rooted in the soul. Though, not all causes are lost. We all have just forgotten who we all are. The good news is, despite poor media coverage, we have the power to remember who we all are and put forth positive change in our communities. The concept of autarky needs to be taught in urban communities—not concepts such as reforming, which pretty much means “dumbing down.” Make the A.

Business Epiphany

As I read and re-read my business plan, I cannot seem to fathom why it is not working. I follow the exact instructions from my business textbook that I purchased, a long time ago, in college and a guide to writing business plans. After countless research on my business models and market and modifying strategies, I finally f**king get it!!

Now, why must I mentally drain myself over something so damn simple? No matter how much sales I received, I am still coming out a loss and/ or debt based on how much I have spent on operational costs and marketing. Marketing is such a huge expense that angers me by the character as I type this statement. None of the free internet marketing resources really works. Of course, not! It’s free!

So, I have abandoned all the marketing hype and focused on what works. What works is paying for it to work. Set-ups will always be free; driving the sales will not. Hence, I cannot b*tch and complain about how much marketing actually costs. Instead, I must restructure my business plan to accept a loss and/ debt which makes it look like my online boutique is not making money—maybe, to the investor, since it is in the beginning stages of operating.

In actuality, my online boutique is making money. Since it is starting off, the loss and/ or debt gives the boutique direction. I know it sounds weird, but the loss and/ or debt pushes the boutique to make income and teaches it how to manage a loss and/ or debt. If my online boutique cannot build knowledge, I will lose a lot more income than I have now. Make the A.

Filling in Loopholes

Many avenues exist for helping people in general, but not many can help those fill in the loopholes of their lives. It is solely the person’s responsibility. As I write this blog, I have almost finished filling in the loopholes of my life. There will be no more escaping from absolute responsibility…this time.

Before my next birthday in October, hopefully, I have truly become a grown up. For the last few years, I have examined myself through life’s moments and where I and what-I-think-is-my life are heading. I become much clearer on which direction to take.

Interestingly, finding directions has taken most of my time. Each time I ask for directions from someone other than me to reach a landmark in my life, I am jerked from one point to another—no where near the landmark! I stop and think to myself, “Why am I taking directions from someone about me?” Make the A.

 

Leadership: Your Principles, or Theirs?

In my opinion,  following someone else’s principles does not make you, me, or anyone a leader. Regardless of this type of leadership training, it is still subordination. A true leader learns from his or her trial-and-error—forgive me, if it is cliche to say, but it is the truth.

Unfortunately, no manual or instruction exists in solving personal trial-and-error in a professional setting. That is the beauty of it. You can design your own principles.

For some time, I have been struggling with this concept. Am I truly a leader in someone else’s workplace? Sure, I carry out what it is required of me, but I just do not feel the leader in me rising. Believe me. I stand up for my convictions. At times, I modify them, in order, to integrate with current operations. Still…

Some of these management programs do not inspire me as much as I want them to inspire me. I constantly see errors in those programs. Why would I solve someone else’s errors and not mine? I find it annoying that it comes to this point in professionalism. No longer am I interested in solving someone else’s problems. I have my own!!

Not once have I received a congratulation from someone who sees that I know and do more than average. It is always criticisms that I receive—well, it seems that way. Nothing annoys me more than finding out that former colleagues never knew sh*t, anyway, and continued calling themselves “leaders”. Make the A.

Quantify Resumes

Between functional and chronological resumes, quantifiable resumes must fit somewhere. It seems to be a trend going around in the job interviews. You’d think that quantifiable resumes only pertain to those in financial industries, or numerical data-driven companies. Nope.

In conjunction with my advice on other resumes,  quantifiable resumes will get you in the door faster and/ or hired directly into senior positions. You can talk about your experiences numerically—how much have you improved productivity?

To compute your productivity rate:

tally up the original work you done,

analyze it for any glitches,

develop a plan to fix those glitches if applicable,

implement the plan,

tally up both successes and failures of plan,

and, finally, subtract the tally of plan from tally of original work

and divide the difference into the tally of original work times 100. Wah-lah!

Yes, that’s statistics above. A portfolio plus quantifiable resume will make you the professional that you really are. Make the A.