Thursday, August 8, 2013

D.C. Pentagram

One of the things I've enjoyed most about living in D.C. is being able to go on long, semi-planned walks around the city. Partly with destinations in mind, mostly seeing whatever I happen to come across on the way. It's a great form of free entertainment, one that I commissioned on my travels in Bologna and worked to perfect on my visits to Chicago. The District is a haven for this kind of thing, as it is a very walkable city, and thanks to the Smithsonian, has an array of free museums to check out. It is also lush with monuments and little parks that fit effortlessly into the design of the city. Unlike so many European cities that evolved over hundreds of years into a cataclysmic mess of winding streets and narrow alleys (also a few select U.S. cities...looking at you, Boston), city planning in American cities follows an easy to manage grid system. One of the things that makes D.C. unique is that it was designed to be the capital. As such, the city could be planned around the White House, the Capitol, the National Mall, etc. The streets reflect these landmarks - and when it breaks up the monotony of a grid of A St and 1st St, it tends to be a lot more noticeable. Putting away the tinfoil hats, one of the most interesting aspects of the layout of the city to me is the Pentagram. Yes, there are potential Freemason implications, and yes, a lot of the founding fathers were indeed Freemasons, but that's neither here nor there.  Is there an upside down cross? Yeah, but two perpendicular main avenues is not exactly groundbreaking in a country of cities built of grids. The square and compass is much more compelling, but sort of a stretch in my eyes. Still enough fodder for conspiracy theorists. Regardless of the origination, the Pentagram is clearly there, framed by the streets and commemorated at every intersection, however slight.

As part of my endeavors throughout the city, I embarked on a journey to capture all these points.

The main linear avenue is K Street (Letters run East-West, Numbers run North-South in D.C.). Of course at the southern most tip of the Pentagram is the White House (the central point for all three symbols, and some would argue America itself). Branching northwest is Connecticut Ave NW (appropriately) and Vermont Ave NW. 
Editor's Note - the NW denotes the quadrant of the city which the street is in. Simple enough for the diagonal streets, but the alphabetical and numerical streets repeat based on where in the city you are. 12th St NE & H St NE is a different part of the city than 12th St NW & H St NW.

I trust you know this one - Southern Point

These two diagonal avenues end in traffic circles - all 50 states have a street within the confines of the district, and when they cross with the main grid, traffic circles are usually the result. At the northeast point is Logan Circle, and Dupont Circle lies at the Northwest. The directional roads from these circles are Massachusetts Ave NW and Rhode Island Ave NW, marking the western and eastern points of the Pentagram as Washington Circle and Mt Vernon Square, respectively.

Logan Circle - Northeast Point
Dupont Circle - Northwest Point
Washington Circle - Western Point

Mt. Vernon Square - Eastern Point

In addition to the five exterior points, there are also five interior points at the intersections of these main lines, forming a pentagon. No conspiracies here, just geometry. Which is kind of a cult in and of itself. The point due north of the White House is Scott Circle, at the intersections of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. M Street comes into play horizontally, contributing to the clusterfuck of intersections to the west (Rhode Island Ave NW, Connecticut Ave NW, M St NW, and 18th St NW) and east (Massachusetts Ave NW, Vermont Ave NW, M St NW, and 14th St NW). At 14th and M is Thomas Circle, while the 18th and M intersection is much less becoming. It is marked simply with an unassuming statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and marks the end point (or origination) of Rhode Island Ave. Without its inclusion in the Pentagram, it would not be of note at all - probably the biggest counterargument to a preconceived idea of a design in the first place.

Scott Circle - northernmost 
Thomas Circle - East on M St
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - West on M St

The fourth and fifth corners of the pentagon fall on the aforementioned K St that connects Washington Circle in the west to Mt. Vernon Square to the east. At the intersection with Connecticut Ave lies Farragut Square, and McPhereson Square with the intersection of Vermont Ave. These small parks are overshadowed by Franklin Square directly to the east and Lafayette Square to the south. Again, minor counterarguments to the Pentagram design theory. However, these counterpoints are all found within the interior of the existence of the Pentagram at the overlapping points of the streets, not the end points that give the Pentagram its descriptive shape.

Farragut Square - West on K St
McPhereson Square - East on K St
Furthermore, Lafayette Square is so notable because it is almost an extension of the White House property - though open to the public, it was known once upon a time as President's Park. Lafayette Square would also fall more into the wheelhouse of the upside-down cross, together with the Ellipse to the south of the White House and the National Mall directly below, which runs west from the Lincoln Memorial across the Washington Monument to reach the Capitol in the East. 

Oh, and guess what the Capitol is the center of? If you guessed the Square and Compass, you would be correct. The leg of the compass connects the Capitol to the White House via the ever so important Pennsylvania Avenue, with Maryland Avenue jutting the opposite way as the leg towards the Jefferson Memorial. With a bit of imagination, Louisiana Ave and Washington Ave can be extended to meet in the National Mall, forming the "Square" portion within the compass in the traditional Freemason symbol. Louisiana Avenue NE ends at Union Station, a prominent point in the layout of D.C. However, the southern point must be imagined as no real landmark sits at the end, and the most important meeting point, the corner of the square is a fictitious point on the National Mall.

There is no doubt that the Freemason roots in our Founding Fathers had a lot of influence - you only need to look at a dollar bill to confirm that. It seems as though the legends surrounding the city layout are at least somewhat reputable. For instance, Mt. Vernon Square is allegedly an old meeting point of the Freemasons, and from what I've read a lot of symbolism is placed around the direction east. Mt. Vernon Square just so happens to lie as the easternmost point on the Pentagram. As anyone who has seen a dollar bill can attest, the Seeing Eye over the pyramid is also a recurring theme. The fact that four points on the Pentagram are traffic circles may play some sort of role in that, if we're dipping deeper into conspiracy land. It should also be of note that each traffic circle serves as an axis of 4/5 triangles that make up the edges of the Pentagram - look on the outside of the central pentagon. I have already noted that the White House is the central landmark on the southernmost point of the Pentagram - the only "triangle" section that does not have a circle/eye overseeing it. I cannot confirm this, but I have read that the room that falls directly on this point is none other than the Oval Office itself. Try that on for size.

There is plenty of crackpot crazy to go along with these interesting findings as well. Of note: The Washington Monument is connected with the Obelisk in St. Peter's Square, stating the dominance of Freemasons over Religion and Government, and when the G8 becomes the G10, the Freemasons will raise the Antichrist and start their apocalyptic takeover. While I doubt the Freemasons were anything more than a glorified Fraternity/Secret Society, never mind demigods and Satanists, it is entirely plausible that the symbolism etched into the District's streets and monuments is a small homage the Freemasons paid to themselves in the design of the city. I was not quite prepared for the rabbit hole of conspiracy theorists when I embarked, but I nevertheless enjoyed strutting about and visiting all these spots myself.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Catching Up

It is safe to say that I have let this blog slip to the wayside recently (read: the past six months). In fact, it never has really taken off since its inception. Perusing Perugia chronicled every detail at length of my time in Italia, and after being back for the school year at Clemson, I decided to start this blog. I noticed times during those semesters where I would have a concept that I would have run away with sitting on a train back from Milan, spent three days straight writing, and trekking to school to upload it. I still get those epiphany moments, quite often actually, but the motivation has never been there to sit down and write. Topics sat on a list ignored, and instead of a documentation of my life I am left with a collection of random accounts where passion to write or the spur of the moment overcame the desire to do something else. After a period of time, it just seemed overwhelming to jump back into it. Perusing Perugia is such a detailed account of my trip, I can look back at it and relive almost any point of my study abroad experience - and on many nostalgia-filled occasions, I have done just that. So where do I pick up from, when I have never really left off from a point at all? I guess I just jump right into it. I hope to make a few different installments, to keep this from being a marathon post and ease myself back into the blogosphere.

To set the scene, my senior year forced me to deal with the confronting reality that in the highly competitive world of sports marketing, I was about to graduate with a Sports Marketing degree and no prospects of getting a job with it. This post will allude to my thought process that shaped my life plan for my senior year. After not being accepted to the summer program at UGA, I was staring down the prospects of what I would do for the time between graduation and starting a program in the fall or January. I ended up making a last ditch effort, applying to a load of internships through March and early April in whatever positions in sports I could feasibly meet the requirements for, mainly through the league websites of the NHL and MLS. Nothing I had really studied in school, but anywhere to try to get my foot in the door. I did not hear back from the majority of them, and the rest I got a generic "thanks for your interest" response. Now I was really up a creek, about to graduate and with no prospects of a full-time job, part-time job, or internship, and only a hope to be accepted into further studies within nine months.

Studying for my last undergraduate final in the library with Adair, I mindlessly checked my email around midnight to distract myself temporarily. I was completely unprepared for what was waiting in my often unchecked GMail account. It was an email from my childhood soccer team, D.C. United, looking to interview me for a sponsorship internship, the next day at 11:00 AM. Evidently, at the time I was applying for internships, this particular one was not posted - I had applied to the only D.C. United internship I could fine, a Community Relations position, but it was really not a position that I had any experience with or business being hired for. Luckily for me, the director of CR passed my application along for the sponsorship position - which falls directly into sports marketing and what I had studied at Clemson.

Sharing the news, I had a minor freak out and my mind started racing in all different directions. Adair had to assure me that it would absolutely be a phone interview, and I would not have to get myself to D.C. in less than 12 hours. I abandoned my studying for my Social Psych final and started preparing for my interview. It went unbelievably better than I expected it to, and less than a week later, I had been offered and accepted the position as a Sponsorship Intern with Corporate Partnerships at D.C. United. (I also handily got an A on my final, so no loss there.) Suddenly within a week, my 'what are you doing after graduation' answer shifted from an unsure "I'm looking at going to grad school at Michigan State or Texas at Arlington, but they don't start until January" to a confident "I will be interning at D.C. United, a team I have loved since I was 6 years old." It has been such a blessing to see the culmination of my college career culminate in an experience such as this, from the waning moments of a senior year filled with such self-doubt, realization, and alternate life plans. To go from uncertainty and near despair to pure joy and unadulterated hope...the same feeling that makes us love sports and keep coming back for more...the feeling of elation when your team scores the crucial goal in extra time. I leave you with this visual metaphor:

Landon Donovan Goal vs. Algeria
In an effort to not do this story a disservice, I have decided to slowly catch you up to speed on my adventures so far this summer. I hope to keep the updates coming more regularly from here on out, so look out for them!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Recent Dream

My dreams are becoming more vivid and realistic lately. I don't know the reasons, and regardless that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to touch on one in particular.

I had this vision of a high school party. Not like I ever went to parties in high school, but regardless. I went to a fairly large high school - graduating class of ~550 - but for the most part, it seemed like everyone knew everyone. Even if you weren't friends, you had at least heard of everyone else. So parties were just everyone coming together, in a different social setting, with people they already knew. You didn't meet a lot of new people, you just hung out with others in a new context.

Then you get to college - at least my school, Clemson, there's no possible way you know everybody here. When you go to a party, you know your friends, you might know that random kid from your freshmen math class or the person from Harcombe you've made up a nickname for, but with all the different friend circles, there's bound to be new people to meet regardless of your social network. You hang with your friends, but you also spend a good amount of time and energy meeting new people - because they expand your network, give you something interesting to do, and grab your attention.

Now we get to my dream. It was odd, completely devoid of context to awake me, and a strange scenario. But it's stuck with me a couple days, and I've enjoyed the thought process it has drawn out of me. In this dream, I was at a college party, full of the plentiful mix of friends and strangers, but there was also a girl from my high school there. In my dream, I was fixated on her. She seemed radiant, interesting; I spent the whole dream-party just talking to her and ignoring everyone else. Not too exciting of a dream, and normally one that I would brush aside right away, or even completely forget in the morning. But for some reason, this dream has stuck with me the past few days.

 It's an interesting dichotomy for me. If it were a typical high school party (which I acknowledge my lack of experience with), she would have just been another classmate. Someone I knew, but wasn't too close with. I would have known most everybody, so she wouldn't have stuck out to me. At a typical college party, I would mingle with a lot of people, and not spend too much time on one person. But something about the combination of the two - someone I knew from high school, being in an element where I would completely not expect her to be. So surprising, so unexpected, it just drew me in, and I couldn't tear myself away - all while within a dream.

Perhaps this only has merit with someone who goes to college so far away, that only one girl here actually attended my high school. If you go to Penn State or Temple, or some other state school, I imagine it's a typical sight to see high school friends at a party and think nothing of it. Maybe it's just my own particular scenario, and my delving into it is completely unique. It's just a dream, after all. And all things considered, a rather silly one at that. In my dream, I went to a party, saw a girl I knew, and talked to her the whole night. Not too groundbreaking, there. It's more so the fact that this dream has lingered in my psyche the past few days, I suppose, than anything else.

Regardless, I haven't posted a blog in a long time. Maybe this is just my quick way of trying to get back into it a bit, at 2:00 AM on a Saturday, one month before I graduate. Maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe it's Maybelline.

Goodnight, y'all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Tour

Last night I went to a show. It was pretty small, the venue was incredibly sketchy, and the crowd was certainly different. But that's not the point. The point is I drove up to Spartanburg on a Monday night in January by myself to go to an abandoned warehouse to see letlive. play on their second day of their headlining tour.Whose crowd ranged from awkward high school sophomores with their parents to angry white men who start a mosh pit in a chill environment because they want to feel tough about swinging their arms near peoples' faces that are just having a good time to indie kids coming out of the woodwork and losing their mind over an incredibly mediocre band with bad acoustics to a few random hardcore fans who stuck around for the headliner - a crowd so large, the lead vocalist was able to (and did) personally shake the hand of everyone who came out and stayed til the end of the set.

letlive. is a high energy post-hardcore/punk band from Los Angeles that has been around since ~2004 but just recently have found great success with only one original member, the vocalist Jason Aalon Butler, and a new record label. A concert promoter decided that immediately following their stint on the UnderOath farewell tour, they would lead a headliner through the US and a fantastic place for them to cut their teeth early on would be at Ground Zero, the abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere, Spartanburg, SC. Kudos to him for pushing that through. Every band who came up stated that this was their first time in Spartanburg. Jason Aalon even said he didn't expect anybody to actually show up, and was pleased with the turnout.

It was such a strange show dynamic through the night, that it got me thinking of the whole concept of going on a tour. As bands with small followings in scenes that are not popular in the mainstream, it must take a whole lot of faith and commitment to drop everything - a full time job, going to school, family & friends - to pursue your dream of playing music.  In an age when people hardly pay for their music, you're putting a whole lot of financial risk on selling a few tickets to tiny shows like this, trying to push your merch and phsyical CDs at the table off to the side, all while undertaking the costs of piling up all your equipment into a white van and driving off to the next stop.

And once you get there, you see a crowd of less than 100 people all hesitant to stand too close to the stage.  You ask who's ready to see "X band, the headliner" and get a solid response, but it's not for you. Nobody knows who you are, nobody knows your songs. But you have an image to you - in the clothes you wear, in the way you present yourself, in the music you play, your stage presence. The crowd moves closer. Everyone starts to bob their heads. Maybe you have a catchy chorus that the crowd begins to sing back to you. You earn respect, one note at a time, and the crowd sees you off with a well-earned cheer at the end. A few impressed listeners come up to your table afterwards to talk to you, check out your shirts, maybe even buy a CD or a sticker or a patch to sew on to their thrift store jacket, covered with logos of all the other bands they've gone to see live over the years. It's got to make it worth it, I think. To step in to a place you've never been, in a venue that looks like shit, and earn your way playing the music you've poured your whole soul and life into it. To pack it all up until 1 in the morning and pile into the van to drive how ever many miles to the next show and do it all again. Because who knows. Maybe this next city you've never even heard of is the one where the 16 year old girl with purple hair is waiting at the front, ready to scream all your words right back at you, and steal your set list off the stage when you're done.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weapon X

Today I had the amazing opportunity to listen to one of my favorite athletes of all time, Brian Dawkins, speak in person. For those unfamiliar, Dawkins played for Clemson in the 90s and spent 13 seasons as the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles. I think he would only be rivaled by Allen Iverson as the most beloved athlete in Philadelphia of all time. There was no question that growing up he was one of my favorite players, with his iconic spirit, passion for the game, and dramatic entrances. Though I admit I never knew of his Clemson background growing up, now that I love Clemson so dearly it makes him pretty much the perfect favorite athlete for me. Just his image brings back memories of the heydays of the Eagles with Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, 4 straight NFC Championship Appearances, and Super Bowl vs. the Pats.

Clemson has created an award in his honor, the Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award, which is why he made the trip back to Clemson this weekend. While he was here, he came to speak to Marketing majors about Sports Marketing. Since retiring, he has become an analyst for ESPN. That's not too applicable for giving advice to those of us searching for jobs to break into Sports Marketing, unless that advice is "have a Hall of Fame career and ESPN will contact you as soon as you retire," but BDawk is a great speaker who has a bright future in coaching, I'm sure. It was interesting to hear his perspective on endorsements, because as marketing students we don't often hear about it from the athlete's/celebrity's point of view. He also had great all-around pieces of advice, such as leadership, dealing with people who are difficult to work with, patience, and motivation. Mainly, though, I was happy that we were able to hear some of his stories, pick his brain about goings on in the NFL and just be able to speak to someone that I've idolized for so long.

Although my career aspirations are changing in front of my eyes, it was still a cool reminder of why I chose Sports Marketing as a major in the first place. Being able to hold a conversation with such a public figure while simultaneously fangirling inside was certainly a college and even life highlight for me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Train Derailing

Perhaps it is a result of never having an actual direction or purpose for this blog, but it seems I have let it slip to the wayside again -  certainly not for a lack of time, but definitely a lack of motivation. I have a list of topics that once inspired me to blog about, but even when starting on some of those, I never completely finished it and just abandoned the post altogether. Keeping in mind that my last post was the first few days of October and this is coming at the tail end of December, I have managed to post about one blog a month and completely skipped November. I just do not want to write about the mundane, and I have not had any overarching concepts or issues that I was struggling with that I felt compelled to hammer out in writing.

By the end of last semester, a complete sense of apathy and lack of motivation had set over me. I slept a lot more, spent a hell of a lot less time in the library, slacked on my reading, and put some things to the wayside. And the backlash for it? I had already exempted my Management Final, and I knew I had a final paper due in the last week of class for Macromarketing. I crammed for one exam by reading all of the chapters the day before and staying up late studying with friends, and I ended up getting a 100% but had to take the final despite having 151/150 points because I had a missed an A by one question on my first exam. In my Promotional Strategy, I abandoned half the reading and got an even higher A than I had on the previous exams, exempting that final. Sports Law was never graded very harshly, although I enjoyed it greatly and always kept up with the case study readings. I kept my motivation up for that class regardless, and shined through class discussion. The take home final was relatively simple, and I just took it to campus on a Sunday and worked through the afternoon on Cooper's back porch on a lovely day and finished it up over Buffalo Chicken Wraps in Hendy.  At the end of the semester, I had my second straight 4.0 on much less effort. Is this real life?

I have probably watched more Netflix and played more Playstation through the end of the semester than I had in my previous three years at college combined. Now at home, I am keeping up that mindset without the school work - sleeping in, dusting off the old Age of Empires II and III, getting my ESPN kick with cable, watching Bowl Games, family time, a solid Christmas. The attitude remains more or less the same. I know the run will come to an end: the train is derailing. I am only taking 12 credits in my last semester and have a very simple schedule, but my German Lit class is sure to take up a ton of time through reading, re-reading, paper writing, and all auf Deutsch. It's been a solid year since I have had an academic German class, and two years since that has involved heavy doses of literature. I am sure to be rusty.

Even if my last semester proves to be a similar workload as this previous semester, the change is going to come regardless. I will graduate in May, and the ride will be over. I have hashed out previously my future plans, and the only real update to that is that I had a moment of clarity to actually grind through the application process and try to meet that for this coming Summer, even though the Michigan State program would not be until January 2014. I feel like this will push me through the decision making process, because I am definitely terrible at making decisions. I have not worked out how I would make the transition from graduating from Clemson in May to moving stuff back to Michigan to turning around and starting up grad school in June in Georgia or Texas logistically or financially yet, but that would be worked out if it needed to be. Issues out of my hands and the possibility of having an extra nine months to work them out is crippling to my decisive actions, and I do not want to decide where I go to grad school because one school started later than the others. At this point I think it makes more sense to apply to all of them and not go into the process having a set 1-2-3 ranking. That way I can factor in things like turnaround time, finances, prestige, program specifics and faculty and just worry about the pros/cons of each instead of trying to pick out a top program.

So that is where I stand. Not going to attempt to sum up the months I have not been blogging, but I think this is an accurate portrayal of where I am in life right now. I am not sure where this coasting attitude has come from or what specifically has set it off, but I just get the feeling that if this train is not derailing now, it certainly will soon. Whether that apathy continues to spread to my blogging, well, I guess the future posts or lack thereof above this one will tell.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Changing Life Plans

Not long ago I posted about where I could be one year from now/how up in the air the possibilities were. Recently a crazy idea has crept into the back of my mind, and it is beginning to take shape - what if I went to Grad School? Now, there are a lot of reasons why this idea has popped into my head: Greg getting ready to take his GRE and researching Architecture Grad Schools, Josh recently getting accepted into MUSC for Med School, my Macromarketing professor emphasizing the decreasing value of a college education and recommending graduate school to all of us, going to the Career Fair and only seeing entry level sales jobs or management trainee programs, increasing doubt about pursuing Sports Marketing as a career. There are most likely even more reasons I could list off if I really dove into it. As I've mentioned, I've enjoyed and had success in my statistics courses and have considered Market Research as an alternative if Sports Marketing does not work out.

Perhaps it's natural to have cold feet about my path, and it's certainly not the first time I've considered a change or come up with some crazy scheme of what I could do with my life - switching majors to  Psychology and interning/studying abroad in Germany during my senior year come to mind. In reality, I came to Clemson as a Management major (I had applied to schools thinking Business Administration in high school), without a real thorough idea of what I wanted to do. It became quickly clear to me that Management was not the way to go - I went through the Pre-Business class Business 101 searching for answers. It finally came on the last day of class: one speaker on the panel was talking to us about his career in Sports Marketing. I don't recall his name, his actual job title, or even who he worked with. I just remember being enthralled with the idea.

I have always loved sports, and here I was pursuing a business degree at a school that offered a business degree related to sports. As a freshmen, it was easy to fantasize about what could be - as a senior, it has become a lot less idealistic. In all actuality, my degree will be in Marketing, with a specialization in Sports Marketing. I could walk into my adviser's office tomorrow and change to Services Marketing, and it would not change my curriculum one bit. I've taken all the required classes for a general marketing degree plus Sports Marketing, and it's been up to me to choose the additional support courses. There are only four Marketing specializations, and Sports Marketing is overwhelmingly the most popular. A lot of people love sports, but how many jobs are realistically out there? How many others have the same vision I had, just within my own school, and what have I done to set myself apart from them? Obviously I've taken all the sports related marketing classes that are offered, but I've also tried to pursue a well-rounded array of marketing/business classes as well. You know, "just in case."

Well, "just in case" is quickly setting in. My biggest fear is sending out a million interviews to highly competitive sports marketing jobs, sitting on a desk ignored without an interview, and reluctantly accepting a job in another area of marketing (read: entry level sales) that I dread, but become deadlocked into for a career. I also fear, to a lesser extent, tainting one of the most influential and important interests I have. I've already noticed when I go to a sporting event or watch on TV that my perception has changed - I pay attention to the sponsors, think about the process of selling/maintaining those sponsorships, observe the management of the game or pre-game events. Sports has always been a separation from reality, something that I could always rely on to take my mind from the mundane. By making this my work, would I lose this magical connection? Would I go to a game and think only in terms of ROI, activation costs, branding, signage, mid-inning PA announcements and who this replay was "brought to you by" instead of enjoying the game, the pageantry, the athletes, and the competition? Perhaps the first option wouldn't be so bad, if I could always retreat back to sports to take me away to my real passion: being a fan.

I posed a hypothetical question to Greg - "What if I just up and decided to go to grad school?" - and poked around a little bit about different programs. It was an intriguing idea, but one I figured was being considered way too late in my college career. After all, I would have to study for and then subsequently take the GRE, get my personal statement together, fill out applications, wait, make a decision, and be ready to go for more years of school. Today in the library, however, I decided to sit down and actually do some legitimate research on the idea. The information was actually really helpful, and I've opened it up as a legitimate possibility. I'm actually not in any crunch for application deadlines for a few programs that looked enticing. I'm looking at a one year MS in Marketing Research program, and there are a couple backed by the Marketing Research Association. The two most intriguing as of now are Michigan State and Georgia. I want to find out more about Texas at Arlington and keep searching for  a few more. Wisconsin had a very cool looking program named for A.C. Nielsen of the Nielsen Ratings, but it was an MBA with a Specialization in Marketing Research - they were looking for candidates with at least two years professional experience, it was a lot more expensive, and an MBA is not what I foresee myself pursuing.

Michigan State seems like the most viable option as of now. The program only accepts candidates starting with the Spring Semester, so after I graduate I would have about 9 months to work a part-time job/do an internship and still have plenty of time to take the GRE or GMAT and apply before Spring 2014. I would be able to stay in Michigan and get in-state tuition. It would finally push me to pick a side in the Wolverines/Spartans rivalry. At the end of the coursework, there is a paid internship to help break into the field with the corporate partners or Marketing Research Firms that MSU pairs with. It all seems like a well respected program, and more or less what I am looking for.

One time freshmen year, Greg brought me over to Ryan Newman's place right before Christmas Break for a little post-Thanksgiving leftover feast. I met one of Ryan's friends who had recently graduated and went to UGA for I believe Law. When he found out I was a marketing major, he wanted to talk to me about a new program they had recently started in Marketing Research. I tried to explain that I was actually going to be a Sports Marketing major, and I wasn't really interested in going to grad school for research. Ha ha. Ha. Well, here I am. Although it is a relatively new program, Georgia has partnered with Coca-Cola through their Business School given the proximity to the headquarters in Atlanta. How cool would it be to get a degree with a foot in the door to my favorite beverage company and their consumer research department? Obviously a lot would need to fall into place first. They actually start their one year program in the Summer, so I would have until mid-February to apply for June 2013 entry. That would leave me just enough time to move out of Clemson, stop home for a little bit, but really jump right back into schoolwork. It appears to be a highly competitive program (but what school is going to promote that they are easy to get into?), and it really would not leave me any room to at least test the waters of the job market. Also, continued out-of-state tuition...although they list it around $11,000/semester and under $1,000 per credit hour. I'm not too familiar with the going rates for grad school tuition, and there are always opportunities to combat those with fellowships, financial aid, grants, etc. It would be a quick turnaround, but it's not too late for me to start the process like I kind of figured it may be by October of my senior year.

I'll definitely have to look into it more. It is by no means a for sure decision. To some extent, I think I may just be delaying entering the job market with more schooling, which is not what I want to do. However, if I'm going to change my career path, this is a fairly seamless way to do it. Graduate from Clemson with a Marketing degree that could get me into a Market Research program, possibly attempt a sports marketing related internship in my gap time/year off, and see where I am from there. A lot is on the line, but I still have some time to play with some different possibilities for my future.