It has been an amazing time, but the next adventure calls…
First off, my apologies for the lack of a blog post last week. There was a good reason for it; I was offered a job. It’s a consulting position in the arts sector, using data to help firms develop better strategies. Basically, the kind of job I wanted to get into after graduation.
However, this meant that the last two weeks have involved frantically tying up loose ends in Dallas, organizing a move across the country, and trying to find a place to live in my new city.
I hope to start in the position tomorrow, all going to plan. I’m entering the working world again, after nearly two years out of the game. It’s definitely nerve-wracking. Even with all the education of the MA/MBA program, I know that my real education starts when the job starts. I’ll be working for a great firm, with some of the best talent in the sector, so there’ll be a lot of learning I can gain from my colleagues.
But in all of this, I am leaving Dallas, a place that I have on and off called home, and grown to love. Whilst I joke that Texas and Australia are very similar places (we both love sports, steaks, and wide open spaces), it’s also beautifully unique. And like before, when I left Australia, there are plenty of things that I will miss, and even one or two things that I won’t.
Things I Am Going to Miss From Dallas:
SMU – Even on the surface, it’s far and away the most beautiful campus I’ve ever visited. There’s something to be said for enforcing a consistent architectural style across the board. But beyond that, the quality of the education, the friendliness of the staff, and the caliber of students has made it a fantastic place to have studied.
The Cox Business Leadership Center – When I graduated, the staff here were kind enough to provide me with a transcript of all the programs I had attended through the Business Leadership Center. It worked out to over 150 hours of seminars, projects, and courses taken on top of the standard program. Everything from behavioral economics to round tables with CEOs. It took the MBA to a whole new level. They also took care of students, and I’ll miss the complementary coffee and fresh baked cookies that were a presence at every seminar.
Whataburger – It might be a humble burger chain, but it was good enough to get its own blog post.
The SMU Cox Rugby Football Club – In terms of alumni involvement, it’s probably the most active club at SMU Cox. A great group of people. Even with the bumps, bruises, and broken bones it was worth it. And I plan to play for them in 2016.
Katy Trail – In the middle of a car-mad city, a straight and flat stretch of bike path. I’m going to miss getting up some high speed on it late at night, riding home from classes.
The Dallas Arts District – The Winspear, the DMA, the Crow. Even after a semester in Italy, coming back to the Arts District was a welcome event. It’s an underappreciated gem, with world-class institutions.
North Park Mall’s Art Collection – Even though I couldn’t afford to actually shop there, it was worth a visit for the art collection scattered throughout, which rivals many museums in terms of its scope and significance.
Central Market – Not that I could afford to shop there much either, but still. They sell 50 types of coffee, allow you to sample anything from the deli, and they stock Vegemite.
The (good) Coffee Houses – It took a while, but hidden away in the city were some decent places to get an espresso. In fact, more than I can list here, but there’s Stupid Good, Union, Ascension, Crooked Tree, Pearl Cup… just for starters.
Pecan Lodge – The queues were worth it. Damn fine brisket. Actually, Texas BBQ generally is amazing.
Shiner (and all the other Texan beers) – As a red-blooded Australian, it was a relief to find that Texas had decent beer. And a lot of it. I still steadfastly refuse to use the word “koozie” in polite conversation (it is, was, and always will be “stubby holder”, the “er” pronounced as a sharp “a” as per standard Bogan English), but there’s no qualms about putting a Texan beer in it.
Texas Whiskeys - Like the beer, vastly underrated and rich in variety.
Country Music – Whether it was on the dance floor at Billy Bob’s, or playing on the speakers in the change rooms at the fitness center, country music was, and is, a way of life.
Love Field – It’s rare to find an airport that is so in tune with its surroundings, an advertisement for the city itself. With an art gallery, Whataburger, and a Billy Bob’s store to boot. Oh, and a cowboy boot store.
Twisted Root – It’s a bit more upmarket from Whataburger, but worth it for the atmosphere, the stupid names they give you, and being able to sit a George W Bush’s table when he’s not visiting for a “Freshman 15” (that’s a cheeseburger with egg, bacon, and smashed fries on top).
Truck Yard – Many good times with classmates were spent here, amongst the trees and fairy lights, watching the sun set over Lower Greenville.
Tex-Mex (and the Frozen Margarita) – These you’ll just have to experience for yourself.
My Washing Machine – Yes you read right. It plays a strangely quantized version of Schubert’s Trout Quintet when it is finished its cycle, making it seem strangely anthropomorphic and chirpy.
This Sign - As seen in the Men’s room in every bar in Texas.
Texan Pride – Texas first, America second.
Yeah, I love Texas. Even so, there are a few things I won’t miss…
What I Won't Miss:
Glencoe Park – Home of the SMU Cox RFC. 50% of the time it’s so dry it’s like playing on concrete. The other 50% of the time the city decides to close it. That or they forget to turn on the lights.
Tornado Warnings – Well it took two years of living here but I finally got them! However, the cellphone warnings come *after* the danger has passed. Thanks.
The (bad) Coffee Houses – whilst the good people of Einstein’s were pleasant and helpful, the machine made a terrible coffee. And don’t get me started on Starbucks. What it meant was that there was not a decent place on campus to get an espresso. One day, when I am rich enough, I will endow SMU with a halfway decent espresso bar with a proper machine.
Night Classes – Most people know I’m a morning person. By 1830 I’m getting tired. By 2130 my brain is liquefied. And yet, there are classes to attend. Well, not anymore…
The Rustic – To be fair, the staff are lovely, the beer is good, the food is nice… but whoever designed the bar needs to be shot. Utterly impossible to order anything. Also, the music is terrible. Acoustic covers of “Tool” terrible.
But I’m really clutching at straws here. The latter is a short list for good reason.
I like Dallas. I love Texas.
And I’ll miss the people the most.
Observations on music, coffee, and the occasional controversial thought.
Copyright © Gerard Atkinson 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the owner is strictly prohibited.