Tag Archives: Eric Fischer

Work Hard to Prevent Post-Grad Unemployment

With the American economy in a financial tailspin this past year and people still feeling the pinch of the economic recession, many employers are unable to hire new talent coming out of the universities across the country.  In fact, many companies have let go their current employees in an effort to survive this recession.  As a result, California’s unemployment rate reached 12.4 percent in December 2009 according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students on track to graduate from the University of San Francisco must find creative ways to beat the odds and be successful in their job search.

In times of economic expansion and growth, companies actively recruit on college campuses.  Career fairs at USF have included a range of organizations. This year’s Career and Internship Fair on March 5, 2010 in McLaren Complex features a range of organizations from the financial services, health, hospitality, government, and education industries, but there were even more companies coming to campus in years past.  This is the reality of a tough job market.

What can students do to be successful in finding employment in this tough economic environment? First, students should be focused, but also flexible and open in their job search.  Looking for a job is not going to work unless you know what you are looking for.  However, because the companies or organizations you might be most interested may not be hiring, one should probably widen the pool of potential employers and be open to a greater range of opportunities.

Second, students should remain true to themselves and present a realistic picture of what they offer to a potential employer.  This process starts by preparing a resume and practicing for interviews. The interview is an opportunity for the employer to learn more about the student but also an opportunity for students to see whether they would fit into the particular organization.

Third, students should try and gain work experience through internships and other campus opportunities.  Students should build upon what they learn in the classroom and apply it to the world.  Not only is this a valuable learning experience but this will also allow you to make contributions to your community.  The reason college students will find it more difficult to find employment now is because firms are reducing their staff and college students are usually not hired because they lack experience or are unqualified.  Internships and work experience in a field will allow students to explore a particular career while networking and making connections.

Fourth, students should develop skills that are going to be ever more useful in the future and that will set them apart from other applicants. The first job students get after college probably will not be their last. We now live in a global economy where people will work for several companies in the course of their career. Therefore, it is important for students to develop skills that will make them a valuable member of any team or organization.

Certainly an education at the University of San Francisco is valuable in and of itself but students need to build upon its value by choosing courses and seeking opportunities that will give them the skills and knowledge they need to set them apart from others.  In this way students will not only gain and education but they will also have all the tools they need to make contributions to the organizations and communities where they will be after they graduate.

Foreign Language Aids Cultural Immersion

As Americans, we do not need to learn a foreign language because pretty much everywhere around the world people are learning English.  The problem with that is you do not really understand what you are not getting.  Being a part of a culture and being able to participate, instead of just standing outside and thinking you know what is going on, will enable you to have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of this foreign culture.

When I took my first course in Middle East history, I did not speak Arabic nor had I ever been to the region.  Now I am hooked.  It was not until I took my first Arabic course that I understood that Arabic is not a single language, and that there are multiple dialects used in various parts of the region.  The Arabic spoken in Morocco, for example, is quite different from Arabic spoken in Syria, which is different from Arabic spoken in Iraq.  Whole words, sentence structures, and expressions sound different.  In learning Arabic I have developed a richer understanding of the politics, culture, history and economics of the Middle East region requires a facility in this important and beautiful language and the dialects.

I have studied and worked in the Middle East and last summer I took Arabic at Middlebury Arabic Language School.  This program is full immersion.  I signed a pledge and could only use Arabic for the entire 9 weeks of the program.  And we managed to learn an entire year’s worth of material during that time.  This was an extremely intensive course but one that I recommend for those who are serious about learning a foreign language. Many times students go overseas to study, and that is great, but often times they are surrounded by peers who speak English.  Finding a way to really immerse oneself in and struggle with the nuances and details of the language will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the culture and society.  In the case of Arabic, this language is also first step in understanding the Middle East and Islam.

I will return to Middlebury again this summer to complete their advanced Arabic language course.  I believe we need to build better understanding, cooperation, and programs between the United States and this part of the world – as well as many other areas too.  Unless we understand what they think and why they think the way they do, which means standing outside of us and getting inside of the local culture to see things through their eyes, we as Americans will not be able to have a constructive dialogue.  We will only be able to communicate with the minds but not the hearts of these people.  Learning a foreign language, such as Arabic, will help break stereotypes and misconceptions that are destructive to our future prosperity, global peace, and our national security.  I encourage other students at USF to consider taking their foreign language courses seriously so that they can do the same.

Schedule Change Positive for Education

I applaud the USF administration for taking the bold move to make a schedule change to Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Monday and Wednesday. In this way, USF will offer students a better class variety in their schedules, bring students and faculty to school more often, and enhance the level of learning on campus.

As I was walking through the cafeteria the other day, I was approached by a student who wanted me to sign a petition against this change.  As I learned more about the changes, and his reasons for why I should sign this petition, it became clear to me that this schedule change is precisely the right thing to do in order to improve the educational atmosphere at USF.

I love USF and am fortunate to be able to attend this school.  There are professors here at USF who really care about their students and their teaching.  It is the emphasis on teaching which I think draws a lot of students to come to USF. Instead of having a math class with 100 people or 50 people, for example, USF offers classes that have far fewer students, offering them the opportunity to really get to know their professors and for professors to adjust their courses to fit the needs of the students.

But, as I am sure you are aware, most of the learning in college takes place outside of the classroom.  As an undergraduate at Georgetown, I took five classes every semester, which were 3 units each, and met 3 times a week. All my professors had office hours twice a week as well.  But, I also remember having multiple speakers come to campus, having late night discussions with my friends, and having dinner with professors in their homes.  By having faculty show up to campus more often the atmosphere on campus did not turn into a haunted house on Fridays.  At USF students take 4 unit courses, which do not seem much different from 3 unit courses.   And, despite these courses being worth 4 units, not many students or faculty are even on campus on Fridays, making it virtually impossible to even learn amongst your peers outside of the classroom.

I applaud the USF administration for pushing forward with the schedule change.  Now, that I think back to the petition that I was asked to sign, he should have been glad to have the opportunity to have classes meet more often and to have more opportunities to learn from his faculty and fellow students.  After all, why else did you come to USF? To get A’s in classes without learning material?  To get a degree with minimal work and effort?  Changing the schedule will not change the education atmosphere at USF overnight but it is a step in the right direction.  Students invest their time and money into an education and have every right to expect faculty and other students to do the same. Implementing this much needed change will bring other added benefits to the USF experience.  I salute the USF administration for enhancing the learning environment on campus and pursuing its mission statement of educating hearts and minds to change the world.

Infected Mushroom at Cow Palace October 30, 2009

The electronic rock group Infected Mushroom is currently on tour playing their latest album Legend of the Black Shawarma and will perform on Friday October 30 at Live 105’s Subsonic Halloween Spookfest at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA.

Their new album includes 11 songs. Amit “Duvdev” Duvedani and Erez Eisen make up the group but several songs feature guest artists: Jonathan Davis (Korn) and Perry Farrell (Janes Addiction). Duvdev explains that the name of their band, Infected Mushroom, was a name that he really liked because it was a name of a band that broke up in Israel and because it captures the essence of their electronic music. Now they are internationally recognized. Duvdev explains when he and Erez were thinking about a new album, Legend of the Black Shawarma, “We had a batch of songs celebrating our favorite places to eat around the world. Then we got into more intense subject matter, but as the title suggest, there’s still a lot of material about getting your grub on.”

They have been on tour internationally promoting this latest album. An electronic music concert is an exciting experience. There is more technology and new sounds but there is also improvisation and original work. Duvdev explained that, “You should expect that if you come to an electronic show you will experience something different at every Infected Mushroom concert”. This concert is one you will remember and enjoy regardless if you are a diehard Infected Mushroom fan or if you have never heard of the name Infected Mushroom before. This is a super awesome group you do not want to miss.

Letter to the Editor: In Response to “Recession is Over but Unemployment is Reality”

Dear Foghorn Staff,

I read the Foghorn on a regular basis but have been disappointed by the uninformed and misguided economic analysis presented by Paul Panasiuk on the U.S. economy and political system.

In his latest article on the U.S. recession he argues the government is printing money, that this is causing a depreciation of the dollar, and that the government spends money on failing programs and wars. Furthermore, he compares the US to Zimbabwe, Iceland, the Weimar Republic and Argentina.  He predicts that the US economy will collapse and that there will be a meltdown.  Furthermore, Mr. Panasiuk argues that millions have lost jobs and that Americans continue to lose jobs.

First, Mr. Panasiuk’s criticisms regarding money supply are misguided because they are not based on reality.  The U.S. government is elected by the people and the U.S. has an independent central bank that sets monetary policy independent from the rest of the government.  The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is highly qualified in how to deal with financial crises, recessions, and using monetary policy to get the economy back on track.  The same cannot be said of Zimbabwe, the Weimar Republic, Argentina or Iceland.

Second, Mr. Panasiuk does not consider alternative reasons for the loss of American jobs.  Indeed, many Americans have lost their jobs, but after the recession has cleared there will be new jobs, which may require an updated skill set.  Do we really want to keep autoworkers employed making SUVs that nobody wants to buy?  Instead we need to build fuel efficient cars, invest in biotechnology, and be innovative and a global leader in high technology.  Most of the jobs that have been lost have been in low-skilled labor, which has been negatively impacted by the development of new technology that replace these workers, the rise in the minimum wage, and the comparative advantage offered by low skilled labor in foreign countries.  A recession offers companies to restructure and become more efficient thereby reaping greater profits in the future.

Third, Mr. Panasiuk does not offer any alternative solution for current U.S. government policy.  Would he rather that the Federal Reserve not print money, thereby keeping interest rates high, making it more difficult for businesses to invest, and our exports expensive to foreign consumers?  Would he rather have a tight fiscal policy and thereby not stimulate the economy through the business cycle?  I am unclear as to what he would want the future to hold. It is easy to criticize and complain about wars, the economy, and politicians.  But unless you can offer better solutions then I am afraid that these criticisms do not amount to much at all.


Eric Fischer

Graduate Student,

Department of Economics

Concert, Show, And Museum Bargains For Students in SF

San Francisco’s vibrant culture offers many off-campus opportunities to enjoy the arts, but what is sometimes unknown is that students can get substantial discounts that make it affordable to attend these programs given their limited time and budget constraints.

The San Francisco Symphony’s season began this past week and offers college students 50% off of their ticket prices (up to two seats per student ID) to college students.  Students can learn more about the student series and how to save 50% by calling Ticket Services at (415) 864-6000.  In addition, a limited number of rush tickets will be sold in person at the Box Office window during regular business hours on the day of select concerts.  Rush tickets are $20 each and limited to two tickets per person.  For rush availability, call their Rush Information Hotline at (415) 503-5577. Availability information will be recorded on this hotline by 6:00 p.m. on the day before the concert or by 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before weekend concerts.

The San Francisco Opera season also just started this last week and offers a similar 50% discount on performances to students and teachers.  All that is required is a USF ID.  In addition, the SF Opera offers student rush tickets for $25, subject to availability, to anyone with a student ID starting 11 a.m. on the day of the performance up until 30 minutes before curtain.  Students are limited to two tickets per ID.  For more information about the SF Opera you can call their box office at (415) 864-3330.  Also, the San Francisco Opera is hosting a free Opera in the Ballpark show of “Il Trovatore” on Sept. 19 at the Giants stadium.

The Lamplighters perform a range of musicals that are a lot of fun.  This year they are offering student rush tickets one hour prior to their performances for $13.  This is a real bargain considering that regular tickets are normally priced at $50.  All  that is needed is a student ID.  The performances are usually held at the Novellus Theater at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.  To reach their box office, call (415) 227-4797.

All of San Francisco’s major museums offer special days, usually around once a month, when admission prices are free or substantially discounted.  These free days are at the beginning of the month and usually the first Wednesday.  What follows is a brief summary of the museum deals organized by day:

Free 1st Tuesday of the Month

SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), located at Third Street between Mission and Howard.  This museum is dedicated towards modern and contemporary art and has photography, painting and sculpture, architecture and design, and media arts.  (Regular hours and prices: 11 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. Friday to Tuesday and 11 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. Thursday $ 15 adults, $9 seniors, $ 9 students w/ID).

California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 34th and Clement. This museum has a collection of ancient and European art and has unforgettable views of Golden Gate Bridge.  (Regular hours and prices: Tues – Sun 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. $10 adults, $7 seniors 65+.)

Free 1st Wednesday of the Month

M.H. deYoung Museum, Golden Gate Park.  Newly reopened museum with city view tower and with American art, native American, African, and Pacific art. (Regular hours and prices: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tues to Sun. $10 adults, $7 seniors 65+, $6 students w/ID.)

Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon. Science museum with hands on exhibits and experiments that reveal the beauty of the universe.  (Regular hours and prices: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. $14 adults, $11 students w/ID, $11 seniors 65+.)

Free 3rd Wednesday of Every Month

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park.  Newly reopened museum that has an acquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and a 4 story rainforest. (Regular hours and prices: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Thursday nights the museum opens up for Nightlife for adults 21 and up.  For admission to Academy of Sciences: $ 24.95 adults, $19.95 students w/ID, $19.95 seniors 65+,  Nightlife is $12.  $3 dollars off general admission for those taking public transportation or bike.)

These special offers for students and free days during the month are good options for students on a budget.  However, be aware that other people know about these deals and so it is a good idea to plan ahead.  Enjoy the art and music of San Francisco while you are a student at USF!

Eric Fischer is a graduate student in the Economics department.  He also plays violin professionally with the San Francisco Sinfonietta.