#sophomoreproblems

The Great Recession hit when I was in middle school. That was a long time ago. In middle school I clearly didn’t care what was going on in the economy. Except for what we discussed in class this semester I never really bothered to understand what caused the recession. All I knew was that it was hard for people who wanted a job to get a job. I didn’t have a job until senior year of high school so none of that mattered to me. Now as a sophomore I have not taken nearly enough economics courses to understand the details. The past week or so that we have been talking about the housing bubble and indicators of the recession, all I have been able to think in class is: What is a mortgage backed security? What are assets exactly? Why do they matter in this class? What is a housing bubble? (commence mental images of a suburban house blowing up like a balloon) How am I going to write a ten page paper if I do not know anything about this stuff? Knowing that there are a few more sophomores in class, I am wondering if I am the only one who has been struggling to connect the dots. As for the essay, I do have my opinions on the future of macroeconomics. These opinions may not be backed by equations and financial terms, but hopefully simple logic will get me through this.

One response to “#sophomoreproblems

  1. Tova, you make a really good point. In Krugman’s article “How Did Economists Get it so Wrong” that we read for class, he mentioned the 1987 stock market crash. And my reaction was: there was a stock market crash in 1987? And the Dow fell 23 percent in one day?? How do I NOT know that???? I’ve taken plenty of courses where it likely came up: Investment Analysis, American Economic History, Money and Banking, etc. But for some reason I didn’t remember anything about it; I assume it’s because it was never relevant to my life. Being reminded that I have huge holes in my knowledge and understanding of the topic at hand is incredibly frustrating.

    Since I took some time off from school, I actually took my first macro class wayyy back in the fall of 2007. So I was paying attention during the financial crisis, but I’m still struggling with understanding exactly what happened because I don’t understand how the macro models of the economy actually work. I’ve already taken Econ 300, 361, and 462, none of which provided me with the skills to understand these models as they are presented in economic journals. I’m wondering if undergrads are even expected to understand them. And if not, how are we supposed to improve upon them?

    So don’t worry, Tova. You’re definitely not alone. And I think everyone’s been incredibly impressed with the sophomore’s contributions to class.

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