Monday, July 2, 2012

Traders of the Last Stock

Class today was by far the most enjoyable class we've had over these last couple weeks. After two weeks of constant lectures, note-taking, and problem solving (all of which were very helpful, just not something I would want to do in my free time), getting to play games in class that actually helped explain the basic concepts of economics was amazing. We headed over to the Science Library, also known as the ugliest building in Providence three years in a row (congrats?), and headed into a computer lab.

When our teacher told us that we would be doing "simulations" in the computer lab, I assumed it would be the simple, boring, watch-what happens-if-you-change-one-variable kind of simulation. Instead, he opened the class (or at least this was the first thing that completely grabbed my attention) with, "the winner will get a Starbucks gift card." While a Starbucks gift card is always nice, the prize wasn't what got my attention, it was that there would be a competition. I'm not ridiculously competitive (that's what I tell myself anyway), but after playing sports my whole life, it's hard not to get a bit caught up in anything that has a winner and a loser.
I knew that we would be playing an economy-based game, and was immediately disappointed when I realized I would have to struggle to not end up last. I understand the economy infinitely better than I did before (it would have taken hours to explain derivatives to me before this course, and even after those hours I still would have ended up talking about derivatives in Calculus), I just knew I would have no chance competing with other students who have been preparing to be economists their whole life.

Our first game of the day involved trading with a random partner in the class, to see if you could propose trade beneficial to everyone. We attempted to communicate and trade for 7 rounds, and at the end, I had somehow ended up 3rd, meaning my name would be in the drawing for the Starbucks card. We then moved on to a stock market game, which ended up lasting a bit too long, but was still very enjoyable. Despite some serious collusion from the people a row behind me, where they drove up stock prices, I was still able to finish in the single digits, which isn't great when you consider it's only a class of twenty something people, but I'll take what I can get. Tayler, however, managed to end up 3rd, showing that after completing the Wings from Hell challenge, Macroeconomics is a piece of cake. Overall today was great, and I can't wait to power through the last note-filled class of the course.

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