About the Past 3 Months

So…a lot of time went by fast, huh?

I’m not going to lie, it has not been sunshine and rainbows. Between being really overwhelmed by school, internship searching, and general personal stuff, there wasn’t a whole lot I wanted to share here for the past few months. Hindsight really does wonders, though. Now that I have emerged from the other side of everything, I have new appreciation for some of those rough patches.

I was bumming hard about school for a while. Not so much about the classes themselves, although I was taking a really challenging stats course that consumed a lot of my time, but more about everyone’s general attitude toward them. I’m in a program that really touted itself on academics as a differentiator – I was led to believe that at this business school, the experience is not just about fluffy stuff like expanding your network, but about actually learning something. And I think this is still true if you put in the effort to get that experience (read: be a nerd), but I’ve been a little disappointed in that I don’t think the classroom is as different from other business schools as they seem to want everyone to believe. I have a lot of classmates who skip classes, shirk group work responsibilities, and are outspoken about how little they care about the curriculum. I’m not saying that I want to be stuck studying and doing homework 24/7, but part of the reason I’m doing this whole business school thing is that I really want to learn new things and I take that seriously. It can just be a lot tougher to do when no one around you seems interested.

nerd alert

Thankfully, a lot of my experience seems to have been driven by the types of classes I’ve been taking, which were largely curriculum requirements. I’ve taken a few now that have been incredibly engaging and helpful to me, and – finally! – I’ve taken them with other like-minded students. Even that super hard stats course was worth it as it has super-prepared me for another stats-based class I’m taking now. I must be pretty dorky for complaining about how classes aren’t cool enough here, but it really was a downer for a while and I’m glad things are looking up on that front now.

all nerds

In terms of the other stuff, I’m happy to say that all that dreadful interview prep is over and paid off! I’m sticking around Chicago for the summer, working in brand management for a great company that I’ve admired as long as I’ve lived here. I’m very excited about it – Fingers crossed that all goes well! I will definitely recap my recruiting experience at some point, because it’s just too weird not to write about.

step brothers earnin

A much-needed spring break mid-March was about the last push I needed to bring me out of my funk. I got to escape the midwestern winter blues and head to the west coast to visit some family. It was glorious, and here are some pics:

Here’s to finishing year one of b-school strong!

 

Advertisements

First Quarter Review

And…Monday has returned. Back to the real world, people. I hope the shock is not too bad.

I mainly spent the weekend recovering from NYE and nursing a runny nose 😦  However, I did remember one major thing I forgot to mention in my catching up post: I completed my first quarter of business school!

It’s hard to believe, but I start my second quarter tomorrow (No Monday or Friday classes for this girl)! With that in mind, here are some reflections on what I’ve learned about a few things (of course, bearing in mind that every school and every student is different), with one sixth of my MBA complete:

  • Classes, part 1 – They mean everything!: Maybe it was the shock of having to study and do homework again after 5 years of…not doing those things. Maybe higher-degree classes are, as one would expect, extra challenging. Either way, class-related stuff felt the most overwhelming to me. Not that I was slaving away on classwork all the time, but it was probably the majority of my anxiety over the past few months. I constantly felt like I was working on a problem set or a project or a reading or otherwise preparing for my next class. This went a zillion times more during midterm and final exams. Brutal.

finals

  • Classes, part 2 – They mean nothing!: Despite how overwhelming classroom stuff felt, I was shocked by how little they seemed to really matter in terms of most students’ priorities. It seemed like everyone placed more importance on networking in order to land a summer internship. Most of my time spent on campus was at recruitment events, rather than in a lecture. I had so many company functions to attend during my midterm week, when asked about one of my exams afterward, I had actually forgotten that I had taken it. Is this a good or bad thing? I haven’t really decided.

grades

  • Socializing: I kept making the same mistake over and over this past quarter. I would happily accept invites to social events (parties, pre-games, etc.) days or weeks ahead of time, but by the night of the event, I always wanted to bail. I have never been more aware of my introversion than when I started this program, that’s for sure. I’m not totally sure what it was, because I always knew that at some point, I thought each event would be fun or else I wouldn’t have accepted the invite in the first place. I think that this is the first time that I have felt really forced to socialize (for recruiting reasons), that given the choice to do it voluntarily, I preferred to opt out.

calendar

I will be honest – Overall, I felt a bit meh about the start of business school. In my head, I know how good this will all be for me, both personally and professionally. It is forcing me to meet new people and friends, learn a little bit, and leave my comfort zone. My career goals as I see them now wouldn’t be attainable in a reasonable amount of time without this degree. But the lifestyle shift has affected me more than I thought it would, which made it difficult to stay enthusiastic about everything during the past few weeks.

But new year! New attitude! I expect things will improve naturally over the next quarter as I begin taking classes I’m actually interested in, now that my requirements are out of the way. And I actually have a good grasp for what my new life is like now, which definitely helps. Mainly, I know that there are lots of free food opportunities, so this can’t be all bad.

free food

Great motivator for staying positive 🙂

Settling In

All right – I’m about 2 weeks into classes now and finally feel like I’ve settled into some sort of routine. I’ve been told over and over in the past few months that business school can be a brutal lesson in time management. A major goal of mine is to try and maintain some balance between academics, school social activities, non-school social activities, job search, and personal downtime. 

Mean-Girls-Popular-Tweet

I think I’m doing an okay job so far, but maybe it’s too soon to tell. There is definitely a small internal struggle that occurs every time an email for an event shows up in my inbox. Would I rather attend this event or get homework done or be alone in my room doing nothing? Decisions, decisions. Knowing myself, I am trying not to let the “be alone in my room doing nothing” win out. At least, not all the time.

cant go out

Anyway, some updates on life since we last spoke. My parents came to visit to verify that I am not living in squalor, not malnourished, and not in danger while on campus.

mg bus

In other words, they wanted to check out my new apartment and new school.

I got a chance to see my old coworkers during a happy hour celebrating my former manager’s moving on to greener pastures. It was great to see everyone and catch up. I always get a feeling in those situations, though, that I’m like that person who graduates high school but keeps going back to hang out.

go here

It’s not that I haven’t moved on, but I am definitely still interested in what’s happening over there. I’m also nosy and like to keep up on all the gossip.

secrets

I’ve also had some good eats this weekend, starting off with lunch at Good Stuff Eatery on Friday, and of course, a stop at Yolk with Tia and Maya on Saturday for brunch. Unfortunately, I have fallen out of the habit of taking foodie pictures, but will try to rectify that for the next post so you don’t have to keep putting up with the annoying gifs I find online instead.

know right

Question of the Day: As I’m sure that most of you are much cooler people than I am, how do you keep track of all your many social obligations and day-to-day duties? I am slowly trying to become a Google Calendar whiz. Stay tuned.

wed pink