Tuesday, August 12, 2014

That Time I Decided to go to Graduate School: I FINISHED MY FIRST YEAR

For as long as I'm in school, this blog will continue to be neglected. There are so many things I want to talk about and so many things I want to say, but so little time to do it. 

I finished my first year. I look back over the last 12 months and it's unbelievable to me what I've accomplished. What we, all of my classmates, have accomplished, collectively. It's incredible. We've learned about topics that have no relevance to our careers. We've made incredible new friends. We've lost family members. We've had children. We've gotten new jobs, bought new cars, purchased homes. We've spent hours upon hours upon hours together studying and not-so-studying. And I've never in my life received so many Snapchats as I have since starting business school. 

In hindsight, I can speak really eloquently about the program and how it works, but I had no idea what I was doing when I started. For the first year, we're kept together as a class. All ~100 of us take classes together every Monday and every Wednesday for a year. We're divided into 2 sections, and those change each semester. We cover Marketing, Data & Decision Analysis, Finance, Operations, Accounting, Economics, and Strategy, all in a year. Additionally, each semester has a mini-consulting project that we work on in teams. 

Each semester had it's own challenges. The first semester, we were figuring out. The classes were a little easier. Case studies were used to deliver content, and a lot of the homework was group work. We were still learning how to be back in school. Second semester was a brutal wake up call. Accounting was HARD. We had to keep up with weekly homework and reading, on top of our other classes and our full time jobs. We came out on the other side of accounting and figured it was smooth sailing from here. The joke was most certainly on us.

Summer was, well, summer. School was not meant to be done in the summer. Not only that, the challenge with the summer courses wasn't the content so much as how they were taught. It was yet another different style, and another challenge to overcome. I kept reminding myself that it was good practice for surviving in the real world! And before we knew it, we were taking mid-terms and then final exams and giving final presentations and BAM. Summer was over, our first year was over, and I know I certainly have the exhaustion to prove it.

So that was my year in a nutshell. Except not really, because I also maintained* outside friendships, continued to work 50-60 hours a week at a job that I love, and I signed up for a second term as our class's Social Chair. I continued to travel regularly for work, and for pleasure. I didn't get to spend any time doing anything else that I love, except tennis and oh yeah, I completed a half marathon. no half marathons ever again, but tennis is not something I'm giving up any time soon. I joke that I am tired of telling people I'm busy when they ask how I am, but it's the truth. 

We have 3 glorious weeks off from school before the first semester of electives starts. I'm taking three classes, and I'm really excited about the content of all of them. I'm also doing more work travel this fall than I expected, and I now have these awesome friends that I want to hang out with all the time. But it's all worth it. That's what I realized. 6 months ago I was seriously contemplating whether or not I'd made the right choice to go back to school, and now that I'm on the other side of my first year, the answer is yes, 100 times yes. These are memories, people, experiences that I will remember forever. My work is already better because of school, and evidenced by the photo dump strewn throughout this post, my life in general is better because of the people I've found. Cheers, Class of 2016! 

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