A Day in the Life of an MSA Student

8:00 am 

I wake up and get dressed. MSA students must wear business casual to the institute; I usually wear a button-down shirt, pants, and flats. I make sure whatever I wear is comfortable because I will sit down most of the day.

If I have time, I will eat a quick breakfast of fruit and yogurt. If not, I’ll bring a snack with my lunch. I pack my backpack with my laptop, iPad, charger, water bottle, and lunch. I usually meal prep my lunch on weekends to save time on weekdays. Before I head out the door, I take care of my dog.

8:45 am

I have a quick 10-minute drive to school. At the beginning of the school year, I bought a parking pass, which has been worth it. Once I get to school, I put my lunch in the fridge and head to class.

9:00 am – 10:15 am

The first class of the day is logistic regression. Before this course, I reviewed the slides Dr. LaBarr sent and listened to his recommended recordings. Dr. LaBarr explained why we use logistic regression and how to calculate and interpret the odds ratio.

During the lecture, I take notes directly on my iPad using Notability. I also have an R session open to run the example code. This method is effective in helping me understand both the lecture and programming concepts.

10:15 – 10:30 am 

In between classes, I make coffee using the Keurig machine in the kitchen. I brought a variety of Keurig cup flavors, and I enjoy trying different flavors daily.

10:30 am – 11:45 am

Dr. West discussed scrum and agile principles for our Practicum and Project Management class. He also introduced Excel templates that we can use to track tasks. This will help us understand how to divide complex and time-consuming tasks between team members. I am interested in applying these frameworks to future projects. I want to gain more project management experience before starting my career as a data scientist.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

I often use lunch to meet with my homework or practicum teams. If I don’t have meetings during this time, I chat with other students and take this opportunity to get to know them better and hear how they are doing.

1:00 pm – 2:45 pm 

I booked a study room to work on assignments before the next class. I take advantage of extra time to finish tasks early. For Fall I, there are homework reports and quizzes for Logistic Regression and Time Series. There are also labs for SQL and a project for Practical Python. Thus, time management is essential. 

2:45 – 4:15 pm 

The last class today was SQL. John Jernigan gave an Introduction to Databases presentation. He provided an overview of different databases and compared SQL and Postgres. This lecture gave me a better understanding of what this class will cover and how SQL and Postgres help manage databases.

4:30 – 5:30 pm

I drove home and relaxed before changing into gym clothes. Then, I went to the Wellness and Recreation Center and Carmichael Gym. I aim to make the most of my membership to the gym, which is covered under the tuition and fees for the semester.

5:30 – 6:20 pm

One of my goals is to exercise more for my health and well-being. Most of the group fitness classes are included free of charge in the membership. There are a variety of group fitness classes, such as yoga, cycling, and TRX. It was my first time participating in the cardio dance class. I went with a couple of MSA students. The workout was very fast-paced and fun! I enjoyed dancing along to pop and rock songs. I had a great time and highly recommend that other students try it.

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm 

After the class, I drove home and ate dinner. I also meal prep dinner on weekends so I don’t have to cook during the weekdays.

7:30 pm – 10:30 pm 

I reviewed the course material that I learned today. For concepts I missed in my notes, I listened to the recordings from the class on Panopto. I made a to-do list to plan my future assignments for this week. I checked Slack and responded to messages from teammates. I also scheduled meetings using Google Calendar, which is an essential productivity tool for the program.

Another helpful resource is DataCamp, which provides coding practice for Python, R, and SQL. I aim to practice these languages daily (I like to keep the streak going!). Dr. Healey also provided some Python coding practice on the Practical Python webpage, so I worked on coding a hangman game.

Lastly, I updated my LinkedIn using the feedback I received from Career Services.

10:30 pm – 11 pm 

After a long and productive day, I get ready for bed. I plan to get at least eight hours of sleep each night to be alert and well-rested for the next day.

Columnist: Teresa Meng