Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Key to a Man's Heart-- Pivot Tables

You don’t know what you don’t know, until you learn it. I’ve felt that way a lot since I’ve taken this class. Nevertheless, today was the day we played around with Excel. I knew I would have problems with this one. If someone asked me to make a chart using excel this morning, I would sit next to the computer with my calculator for hours trying to type in each cell while adding up the numbers using my handy dandy calculator. If someone asked me now, I’d whip up the best chart you’d ever seen and have time to give it color too!

We started our day off finishing yesterdays lecture about yield management and discounting. After Reneta went through the last slide, Mark rubbed his hands together deviously. The programing was about to start. It was a gruesome hour and a half with Mark. We covered all the basics in the first half hour and everything else was filled with formulas and pivot tables. We all scratched our heads simultaneously as we tried to make sense of what was happening in all the boxes as Mark teleported from window to window, scrolling, clicking and highlighting faster than anyone could write down. Our lesson ended up going overtime, which was good considering the ten minute of intense rain which would have been incorporated in our lunch had it not been for our extra lengthy lesson. After lunch, group B followed Reneta into the lecture hall while group A had the honor of following Mark into the computer lab where more programming awaited. I had the honor of being part of group A. Oh boy.

Watching was one thing, but following is another. In those three hours, I’ve learned more about Excel than I have in the past sixteen years of my life. My older sister would tease me about my lack of Excel skills. She would whip out a blank document and indulge in my confused expressions as she expertly filled out the chart. By the time she finished her work, my brows hurt from being crunched together for so long. It’s time to show her who is in charge when I get back to the West Coast.
After successfully frying our brains with excel data, Mark stood in the front of the room with his arms proudly at his sides. He recommended that the best way to woo that girl or boy sitting across the dinner table is by whipping out your laptop and showing them your splendid pivot table. They’ll be sure to fall in your arms. Aside from that, he named countless scenarios which we could immediately apply our new skills, including in the high school classroom or at a job in the future. I have my own plans about applying my new skill. Many of the school club forms at Hercules are depressingly ill-formatted or out of date. It’s time for an upgrade, and now there’s a person up for the job.
After class, the two groups switched, and our group spent the rest of our day watching a video about Yield Management. Everyone dreadfully returned to the computer lab, where we dug for our Microsoft Word notes to complete our report template.

Once class and dinner were out of the way, it was time for the long awaited picture. The entire cohort got together after what felt like a thousand spreadsheets and everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, proudly smiling with our Cornell sweaters. I love meeting new people at Cornell. I’ve revisited China though the stories my groupmate tells me and traveled to Canada countless times from my dorm mates adventures through the snow. Nevertheless, being in the East Coast has renewed my appreciation for the Bay Area. The East Coast is fascinating, rich in history and full of sites, but nothing beats the dry California lawns and crazy Giants fans. Being with the cohort reminds me of California, and I’m find myself in a game of tug-a-war. Part of me feels like I’ve known my dorm for my entire life while the other is longing to go back home.
The cohort rocking the Cornell look.
Although there was a fireworks show tonight, I spent my night tapping away at the keyboard. Strangely enough, Ithaca displays fireworks on July 1st rather July 4th for reasons related to the conflicting times with surrounding cities. In the midst of my studying, I was startled by the loud boom outside. I rushed to the window, pressing my face against the window. It was strange that there would be a thunderstorm without there being any rain. Suddenly, I realized this was the firework display.

It’s been a while since I pressed my face against the window to watch the fireworks. When I was in elementary school, my sisters and I would climb on my father’s desk every year on July 4th and crowd our faces around the window to watch the city set off fireworks. This was a first time I’ve done that in a few years and it made me nostalgic. Although it’s a bit earlier than the usual date and in a totally different location, the fireworks were beautiful.

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