Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Adventures in Stock Investing

The injustice. Cruel, cruel injustice.

The efforts I must expend to expound my story here are all too much to bear, as is the atrocious account itself, but I proceed onward, knowing my courageous act of disclosure serves as a cautionary tale to others forthcoming.

I didn’t get into the “Introduction to Stocks” DeCal. Horror of horrors!

To be honest I’m not all that upset over this curve ball, but it is strike two for the DeCal department this semester. Readers will remember that the Official 2007 New Years Resolution #2 for me was to learn how to cook via the “Basic Cooking” DeCal. That fell through quickly, due to class time scheduled during my hall staff meetings.

I responded by adjusting ONYR #2 to include learning how to manage my money via stocks and investments instead. After all, if I’m going to be a teacher I will need to rely on other methods to supplement my income. Investing might help me do that. Maybe. Now all I have left are selling drugs and prostitution, dangnabbit.

Let’s set up the background story for this disappointment:

I hiked up to the North side of campus last Monday after my blogging DeCal, way up to this mansion-converted-graduate school called the Goldman School of Public Policy. Across the street from both an empty plot of construction and the concrete blurb of blah also known as Cory Hall, this quaint cottage had a warm d├ęcor by comparison, new and well-kept.

Our class was being held in a lecture hall inside, not because it was our official room designated by the registrar, but “due to the heavy turnout on the first day”, which struck me as an odd announcement on the course website. You could say it was with a little disbelief that I initially read that statement, being an ex-facilitator myself. Students are a hot commodity for DeCals, and are also a limited resource. Alright, mine was based on the life sciences and research, but surely these topics are barrels of fun compared to boring old stocks, any day.

…And so there I was, sitting on the ground in the aisle behind twenty others while over a hundred stood standing behind me, all of us student refugees with neither desks nor chairs to our names. Shuffling backpacks, clicking and clacking keyboards, suffocating body heat, all of these weighed down with the dense ambition inhabiting the room and made our stay unbearable, stifling thoughts and prompting thirst.

This was an introduction to stock investing. Fear its power.

Class began with an introduction from the facilitator, a well-dressed student short in stature and bearing a young gash across his brow from a prior Rugby playdate. His excessive attire was due to prior engagements, but he still kept that professional charm flowing for all of us to see. I could give examples of this charm, like when he told us that the only time we are allowed to miss class was if someone in our family dies, or when he blamed scheduling issues on “those bitches” from the department, but y’all know charm so I won’t go into detail.

I shifted weight from buttock to buttock as he detailed what the class covered. He explained that, out of the mass of students before him, only 50 would be allowed to add the course. He introduced an application and a deadline, and would make decisions based on our written responses to his questions.

My responses centered on the following critical description of myself that I used:

After graduating this semester, I am going to be teaching down in LA in the fall for two years as a corps member of Teach For America. My parents fear for my safety, but also have reservations because of the typically low pay associated with teaching. They say that I don’t understand how important money is. Learning new tactics to use with the money I have and the money I make will in turn allow my parents to be more confident and proud in my decision to teach, for I will prove to them that I still got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Or something like that.

Graduating senior. Teach For America corps member. Saving society while business types make money at others’ expense. I deserve a break. Throw me a goddamn bone here.

I get an email later that week with a charming response:

Unfortunately, I will not be able to offer you enrollment at this time. These decisions are always difficult, and I regret that this course cannot accommodate everyone.

I appreciate your interest in the class and hope that you will reapply next semester.

My interest is also shared with graduating on time. The decision was a difficult one, but I regret to inform you that I will not be investing my time in your class, not now or ever, thank you very much.


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