My Graduation Address

I’m very late in adding this, but such has been the case with all of my blogging—especially throughout the duration of my Master’s studies. In fact, I debated whether or not to post this at all. We always want our best to shine through. I think my graduation speech was just one of those occasions in which that simply wasn’t the case. Nonetheless, as my own harshest critic, I know that expectations I hold for myself can be too ambitious, or even unrealistic. From the very moment I was asked to speak, I felt tremendously honored and couldn’t pass on this unique opportunity. Despite preparing it while concurrently juggling final exams, completing my thesis, transitioning into a new job, and reuniting with my parents for the first time in about a year, I still had fun with it—even though, if you notice my anxious demeanor in the video, “fun” might not be the adjective that comes to mind.

A broader graduation ceremony recap can be found here.

As economists, we try to model reality. But the most important model we’ll ever construct is that of who we choose to be and what we desire to become.



Carpe Diem

After recovering from my initial jetlag, I have been riding an extreme adrenaline rush. I suppose my new surroundings and the endless opportunities to discover new things are impossible to moderate. So that’s why I’m writing at 5 in the morning. Despite my apparent endless amount of energy, I still wonder how I can achieve everything that I want to do. I often get this feeling with respect to my daily plans, but I frequently address my life goals and get the same feeling. C’est la vie.

There are a couple of things I have to do today including registering with the Spanish government, stopping by to check out options for phone providers, shopping for a few necessities for the apartment, and update my budget. Beyond that, I want to exercise, eat well, marvel at the Gracia festival, take pictures, write, explore my neighborhood and district, read from some of the many economics books I am so far behind my goal on, shop for gym memberships, and study the prep materials for my graduate program. I’m sure there will be other things too, but there won’t be time for them all. My only consolation is that I believe that the only way you can actually waste time is by trying to worry outside of the moment. By staying in the moment you succeed, at least, by taking some action. When action is taken often enough, we become more efficient at making choices that benefit us and we learn valuable lessons even when we don’t intend to. Carpe Diem!

What destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

(written 8/21/14; image © Benjamin Anderson 2014)

Honing My Vision, and Putting in the Work

Today I take flight to add to my education. I have learned so much, but still have so much farther to go. Education makes me happy (although at some points in my life, schooling hasn’t always) and gives me tools I need to bring meaning to my own life and hopefully make the world a better place. Education is so critical to life that, to me, education is an end in itself. Hopefully, it will be much more.

I embark for Barcelona; a beautiful, vibrant city that I have twice visited. Today, I think and feel much differently than I did then, so in many ways it will be like my first time. I am more conscious of my health and what I investments I need to make to fulfill my goals. My good intentions have become more actionable with increased clarity, focus, thought, and planning. I’m ready to quench my thirst to make more significant positive impacts in the world, and I’ve devoted a lot of thought and energy into tilting my ambitions to development economics and policy economics geared toward equitable growth. Graduate school at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics is the vehicle that I have chosen to adapt and evolve my skill set from business person and financial analyst to development/policy economist. I intend to maximize this opportunity and make this my best all-around educational experience yet.

I am lucky, I am thankful, I am free, and I will not waste any of these blessings. The pain and adversity of others is a reality that constantly concerns and motivates me. I want to give back to the world what has been given to me, so my focus and energy must stay the course.  Thank you to the hundreds of people who have helped shape me and given me these opportunities in ways big and small, but most of all thank you to my family.

I feel more alive and awake than ever, and I must reach ever greater heights by challenging myself. So Barcelona, Spain, here I come!

This old world is a new world, and a bold world for me… and I’m feelin’ GOOO-OOOOOOOOD!!!

–Nina Simone, Feeling Good

(written 8/19/14; image © Benjamin Anderson 2014)