The Chalk Art Festival in Pleasanton “The Big Draw”

On this very lovely Saturday morning, my class and I journeyed over to Downtown Pleasanton to join the Chalk Art Festival “The Big Draw”. At around 10 AM we were there exploring the art of drawing unbelievable images on the ground in a variety of colors. The Festival was a pure family event where apart from professional artist displaying their amazing art, parent were able to buy squares for their kids to join the wave and also express themselves with art. The ultimate family experience was enhanced by the multiple small gift shops, the welcoming artists who were showing kids how to draw with chalk and the stand – set up by some artists – where children could have their faces drawn on – like flowers, animals of their favorite animation character.  Local “bands” entirely composed of talented children, who contributed to this lovely atmosphere.

Later on, my class and I headed up to have a nice lunch at the Stacy’s Cafe, where I had one of the most delicious Chicken Ceasar Salads I have ever eaten. We had some time to talk, laugh and discuss everything we have observed so far at the festival, take pictures and share our experience. After lunch, we went back to the Festival Street to continue our journey among the pretty images displayed on the ground. Finally, we went home enriched by the creativity, originality and great spirit of this community event.

I am sharing some of the amazing pictures I took of the street chalk art at the festival! Words are useless, enjoy!!

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What did you do well and where did you fail along the MBA Program?

As I am in the last quarter of my MBA program I can certainly look back and identify where I did well and where I did not. However, as from every mistake in life, I am able to learn from those mistakes as well, which helps me easily say “whatever” and continue improving myself preparing for my future-self.

Be organized:

Be organized simply means arrange all your stuff, all your classes, all your books, notebooks, pencils, pens, rubbers and rulers. Keep everything under control. Know where each small piece of paper is and make sure that when you need that handout – you know where it is and you do not need to turn around your room to find it. Furthermore, have every deadline written down and look at the table every day to make sure you are not going to miss any assignment or deadline.

Stay focused:

The lectures are invented so that students could learn better and easier, so stay focused, listen in class and stop Tweeting! Maximizing your learn outcome does not mean read the book 3 times, it means listen to what the professor has to say – he already read the book 3 times and for sure knows something useful.

Keep a healthy work-life balance:

If you aim at marrying your job and having companies instead of kids, then this advice is not for you. However, if you consider a happy life then you should think about it! Keep a good work-life balance and make room in your schedule for the things and people who make you happy. If you want to go to the movies tonight and there is no deadline tonight or tomorrow morning, you should just go! Hey, life is life and work is work, but life surely comes above work from time to time!

Have fun:

Building on the previous point – have fun! Make sure you have time to enjoy yourself. Stressed people end up unhappy and unsatisfied, because work and success does not necessarily make you happy – it makes you rich and everyone knows how this story goes: the everlasting debate whether money makes you happy. Well, it does not! So be happy and have fun! However, make sure you have completed all the assignments before doing so!

Do not love – respect:

As in every circle of life, in your MBA you will meet some people you might not particularly enjoy, but that is ok! You do not need to love them, but you have to respect them in order for a successful and valuable learning outcome to be achieved.

Be a team player:

Building on the previous point – be a team player! Know how to work in team, do not try to avoid work, do not try to give more to your teammate, do not be a control-freak, do not argue, do not scream, do not think you are better. Simply be a team player! This skill will help you everywhere and especially in your future career.

Concentrate on yourself:

Stop comparing yourself with the others! If John has an A – well probably the professor thought he deserves an A. If you have an A-, well then the professor thought you deserve the minus. Relax, and concentrate on yourself – what could you have done better and not why John has a better grade. Simply get out of the Kindergarten.

Keep good time-management:

Of course it is easier to say than to do, but try organizing your time in the best way possible. Stay focused here as well. Try to keep a good time-management and avoid losing time. Maybe you should take the public transportation because it is faster? Or maybe you should even read that chapter in the bus? Think about possible ways to reduce the time you lose every day and this will help you achieve more.

Stay professional:

Emotions and problems need to stay outside of the classroom – exactly as they have to stay outside of the work place. The sooner you learn it, the better you will be in your career.

Have a big picture:

Do not focus on small things such as grades, that paper or that very annoying classmate. Think big – how is this program helping me for my future, what can I do knowing all these things, where are the additional opportunities? Keep the big picture in mind and try to look ahead as sooner as you can in your MBA.

Do other things as well:

Continuing from the previous point, try doing other things during your MBA. Find a part-time job, finally go to the gym, play with your kids more or simply read that good book that your friend told you about. Find time for the things you love or the things you need. If the MBA program stresses you – you can always “run away” and “chill” in the “other” place.

Be social:

Try to connect with as many people as you can – networking, yes I know you have heard about it, – and yes it is very important! It is also fun!

Stay fit and healthy:

Health is the most important thing, so do not sacrifice studying for your health – it is not worth it!

Do not stress too much:

Success, career, studying, books and papers can be stressful. Therefore, make sure you do not stress too much – again, it is bad for your health and health is the most important thing!

It is not the end of the world:

This is a quote I like to use – it is what my father always says to calm me down when I am extremely stressed from studies, papers, grades, etc. – it helps and it is true!

Do not stop:

Finishing the MBA (finally) is not the end destination, I am sorry, it is the starting point! The “start” line of your future, better career. So do not even think about a year in Japan or a work and travel program for the summer – go ahead and work! Prove yourself, grow and think big! Do not ever stop! Otherwise, the others will run you over.

Technology: #Bostontragedy

On 9/11/2001 my sister and my father were flying from Canada back to Bulgaria. I was 11, however, I clearly remember the shock my mother and I went through, when my episode of “Popeye: The Sailor Man” was interrupted by the most terrifying news we had ever heard. Nobody knew anything – some plane from somewhere crashed somewhere in America, all airports are closed, hundreds are dead…In 2001 we had no computer at home, and certainly no Internet connection. We did not have cell phones either. We were left with that news, staring at the TV screen as “Popeye” continued, waiting for the evening News Show for more information. We simply could not do anything else but wait and hope for my family to not be on one of those planes.

Twelve years later, I am informed about a tragedy in Boston, twelve minutes after it happens. I know what happened, where it happened, how it happened. If this is not enough for me, I can even search for more – I do not need to wait for the evening news, I can simply go on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and basically every online news provider, and get all the details about the explosion at the Boston Marathon.  

Comparing both situations, I feel quite fascinated by the scale of technology these days and the way it influences our lives. Information travels within seconds. People entered a “chasing battle” of who can post the most updates, videos or pictures of the bombing for the shortest time. “Two died in the bombing”, “Guy wanted to propose, girlfriend died”, Reddit even point a finger at who the responsible person is. All these ended up being a ball of false information.

Now comparing both situations again: Would it have been better for me at 11 to read updates on Twitter such as “Plane from Canada crashed in New York”, “Two Bulgarians responsible for the attack”? Or was it better to have no clue what happened and just stay terrified for 3 days until it all becomes clear? I believe, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Providing immediate information is a great power, but people should stop abusing it by aiming at most likes, most comments, highest number of followers or even money.

The Meaning of Social Media

My grandmother reads books on a Kindle?! My parents comment on my Facebook pictures?! I talk to my friends on Skype and Google+ and invited them to my birthday in a Facebook group – well, thank God Facebook told them that it is my birthday…

What happened to those little birthday invitation cards I used to write in elementary school? Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened, but as a 90s kid I grew up with technology and was in the first generation to embrace social media and fall in love with it. I used to mock my parents for having no clue what I do on Facebook and they thought I am one of those weirdos who will have problems socializing later in life. Then this weirdo went to college and sank deeper into the technology swamp – presentations, research for papers, e-books, e-mails, chats, student-teacher online interaction. Social media was the new phone and Internet was the new old_book_64.

It changed us and it did not stop there – it is progressively changing the way we live, we think, we communicate. The advantage technology gives us – today’s students – is huge. Researching a topic does not mean digging all day in the library; group meeting does not require you to leave your bed; correcting a document does not mean Rubber-REV-128– it means online document correction. It means Google docs, where everyone can correct in real time simultaneously.

How easy is all that? Has it enhanced your college life, has it helped you get a better grade? It sure has. The group meeting was great, everyone shared opinions and ideas, the smart one saw you misspelled that word and the perfectionist wanted the text to be a little more to the right. The project was completed successfully and even though you were picking your nose during the entire group meeting nobody saw that. (Good that your web cam was off, though.)

You got the A you wanted, good, now let’s go home and share your joy with your friends or family. Oh, yeah, I forgot, you are in the US now, while they are in Bulgaria. Where? Sorry, I didn’t get that. You mean they are 7000 miles away from you? Now that is the real value of social media!

Now close this page, go on Facebook and write a message to that person you love and miss so much, who always made you smile and supported you, but is not here with you.