Tag Archives: university

Easter retreat in Guangzhou

I can’t believe it’s already May and we are into exams! These past four months have been a torrential, colourful blur, and I’m really starting to dread going back home. At the beginning of April I went to Guangzhou for the Easter break. The Qing Ming festival also happened to fall on that weekend so I got a total of 5 days off. HK is awesome in the sense that you are privileged with both Chinese and western statutory holidays. I decided to take advantage of these days to pay a visit to some relatives.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the stampede of Hongers who were thinking the exact same thing. The crowd at the Shenzhen train station was absolutely insane. Probably not as bad as Lunar New Year’s, but I would peg it as a close second. I arrived at around 3:30 and despite having trains leaving every 10-20 minutes, they were all full until around 6:30. Then I had a lovely time with the pushing, yelling, and rushing.

The first attraction I visited in Guangzhou was an area that was built in the style of Lingnan. The whole place was one of those tourist traps where they get you to buy food and pay for cultural ‘experiences’.

A Lingnan-style street

The best food was 双皮乃 (direct translation: double-skinned milk). It’s almost like eating cream with the texture of tofu. I had a cold one and it was really good.

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Pretty true.

Pretty true.

In high school, it didn’t take me very long to realize that the things we were learning were going to be either obsolete or not applicable to real life by the time we entered the work force. Most subjects were too simplified and high level. Those four years were mainly used to secure a foundation for higher learning, and to help us develop the skills needed to achieve and strive for further knowledge.

I predicated my future on the basis that through the university courses I take, I would emerge with the necessary education to apply directly to a job related to my field of study. My expectations were that I’d find something I took to – a personal “thing” I enjoyed, and could see a future in. I sort of discovered an interest in finance through process of elimination, but I find that I’m unsatisfied with my learning. I know courses like MATH239 and CO370 are supposed to help with “analytical and critical thinking” development in addition to teaching us the material, but I still feel like it’s a waste of my time.

On the other hand, the finance courses I’ve taken so far don’t seem to go in depth enough. Investment Management was supposed to be interesting, but I feel like I haven’t really learned much. Efficient markets, portfolio theory, options pricing, okay, but it seems that this course is too broad, still “building a foundation”, and there’s still so much more to know. It’s like whenever something starts to become slightly interesting or go in depth, we’d just move on. If everything I ask “why?” to is “beyond the scope of the course”, where am I supposed to find the answer? Would I be forced to pursue post-graduate education? I want to know more; the details, the innards, the linkages, the “icky” parts that are glossed over.

I guess what it comes down to is that I just don’t feel ready to hit the job market. I don’t think I’ve learned everything I need to. And having only one year left, I don’t think I will. I realize more and more that education is no replacement for valuable industry experience. In a strange way I feel that undergrad has failed me. This is just something that’s been frustrating me lately.

Today an NYT article caught my eye: Obama Pushes Broad Rules for Oversight of Derivatives. Basically the US government is considering regulation for standard derivatives (like the ever-so-toxic CDS). With these kinds of articles, I usually find the comments to be more interesting because objectiveness gives me a lot more insight. I think it’s great that major newspapers decided to publish online articles and allow for community discussions. The reader interaction really supplements the content well. Also for some reason, the first thing that popped into my head after reading this piece was the amount of ISDA headaches that would arise… @[email protected]

In other news, I ate cookies for lunch today. Yesterday I had a medium pizza by myself. I’m probably going to die early.