Day in the Life (August 23)

6:10 A.M. 

I wake up, do my devotion, and make a cup of coffee before the world is awake. As an extrovert, I gain my energy from other people, but I find that being alone is more conducive to organizing my thoughts and mentally preparing for the day ahead. In order to do this, I aim for a short morning walk with my headphones. 

7:00 A.M.

I reserve the time before class for either personal time or homework time. This morning, I chose to review the Logistic Regression PowerPoint we were given to get familiar with prior to today’s class. I then allocate some time to myself, by preparing lunch and organizing my room, before hitting the ground running.

8:45 A.M. 

I make my way to my first class of the day at the Institute, Project Management. With the Practicum approaching, Dr. West expands on the many factors that play into a successful practicum project. I’m diligent in taking notes, quietly hoping I can recall as much as possible once the time comes. I feel as though I’m entering uncharted territory, which is equally exciting and intimidating.

10:15 A.M. 

Practicum teams were assigned last week, and I realize I have never worked with my new team members. I use this time before the next class commences to strike up conversations with my team members and the classmates around me. We share tidbits of our hobbies and interests attempting to know and understand each other better. We echo each other’s anxieties and anticipation about our sponsor reveal, and then it’s time for the next class.

five students in front of OneMain Financial sign in an office
The One Main Financial Practicum Team

10:45 A.M. 

Dr. LaBarr imparts his knowledge on Logistic Regression as I do my best to soak in everything. Keeping warm in the classroom is a challenge, but the content is rich, which elevates the entire experience. My statistics knowledge has grown exponentially since the program. I’ve not only learned how to solve problems but how to adopt the mind of a data scientist. The class goes until 12 P.M., and I briefly read over the first homework that awaits. 

12 P.M. 

I share a conversation with a friend while we confide in and encourage each other. I find this to be essential. As one will slowly realize as I did, teamwork is at the center of the MSA program, and it’s these in-between times that I find my fill of humor, encouragement, and warmth.

1 P.M. 

I head to my final class of the day, SQL with Dr. Villanes. John Jerigan walks us through the Introduction to Databases. 

2:30 P.M. 

After class, I discuss strategy and plans for our assignment with a friend before we part ways. I head to our first of many Practicum team meetings. I will spend the majority of the program with my Practicum team and grow alongside them. We spent time introducing ourselves. We shared our backgrounds, hobbies, and our journey to the IAA. After our meeting, I slowly get an idea of my team members. We complete our Data Security quiz and plan for a bowling night at King’s.

Five students at a bowling alley
Practicum Team Bowling

3:30 P.M. 

I leave the Institute and grab food to refuel. I relax at home before heading to the library. 

5:00 P.M. 

I head over to Hunt Library and grab a hot mocha at Common Grounds Café before conquering my to-do list. Today it includes reviewing the Logistic Regression homework, the Python assignment, team memorandum, monthly security scan, and Windows updates. I devote myself to homework for approximately two and a half hours; however, taking advice from the alumni and faculty into account, I anticipate this number to increase in the following days and months.  This increase is primarily due to the Practicum and the demanding coursework.

7:30 P.M. 

After conquering my to-do list, I go home to prepare dinner. Tonight’s special is fettuccine alfredo; I relish the meal and use it to meal-prep for the next two days. I find that with the hustle and bustle of the program, meal-prepping is a time-saving hack.

As you can tell, my days at the IAA are long, and I foresee them getting longer. Each day is a challenging yet fulfilling experience. 

Columnist: Shalu Barigala