Grad School Confidential: Extracurricular Activities

Today, Denise Moller, CBF, CICP discusses the additional effort she and her class put in over the course of the last year in preparation for their second year at GSCFM. This will be the first in a two-part interview with Moller, the remainder of which will run tomorrow.

I heard that your class met up and had regular study sessions between last year and this year.

We set up conference calls after we all got home from last year's session. We had everyone's contact information and we contacted all the members that were going to be taking the CCE. A handful of people in our class that had already taken the CCE, so we contacted them to see if anyone would be interested in forming a study group.

An interstate study group.

Right, so most of the people replied that they were interested, so what we did was we set up a monthly meeting, a call-in, and we took all the chapters from the book that they had given us and we divided among the members. A couple unfortunately had to fall out, so we had to re-assign some of the chapters, but what we'd do is call in every month, and go through the "Test Your Knowledge" questions and the review questions that were at the back of each of the different chapters on a monthly basis. Because there was 12 chapters and we had a year, we would basically do a chapter a month.

That sounds like you all put in a lot of extra work doing this. What made you keep up with it?

My motivation was that I felt if I didn't stay on task I would end up a month from coming here, saying "I have a lot of material to go through." Before we left last year I was speaking to several of the second-year students and said "if you had to do this all over again, what would you tell me? What would be important?" and every one of them responded "get the project done and stick with the study session and stick with getting through the material so that you aren't getting caught up with things at work and in your personal life and find that you're all of the sudden making your reservation to come here and you're not prepared."

Was there any other extracurricular preparation that you did between this year and last?

Aside from that, my group that I had [for the second-year students' final group project], we set up monthly meetings as well, so that we went through our project and just kind of kept progressing. We were all looking through the material and going through the material and just really felt that we had to stay with appointments like we did at work, because we didn't want to keep pushing the deadline off.

You said that when you were a first-year, you asked the second-years what they could tell you that they would do differently. If a first year were to ask you that today, what would you tell them?

I would say that it was a great tool and, you'd have to ask the other members of the group, but for myself it was a great tool by keeping those appointments because it made me stay on task. If we were going to have a call-in next week, I wasn't going to not know what the material was about, so I needed to be prepared for the call. In the end, it meant that I needed to be prepared for coming back and taking the exam.

Check in at NACM's blog tomorrow for the rest of Denise's interview. GSCFM concludes tonight with a graduation banquet for the second-year students.

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