First Day of School

First Day of School

Remember when the first day of school was exciting?  In elementary it meant shopping for new school supplies and clothes and seeing your friends. In high school it meant figuring out who was in your classes and seeing your crush. In college it was moving back to campus and living with your friends. First year of grad school was the start of a new adventure. First day of my second year? “Crap, we’re back to this.”

Perhaps it is because I’ve only had two weeks to recover from twelve weeks of jam packed class time, but as I prepped for my first day of Corporate Finance, there was not a shred of first day excitement in me. Today starts the countdown of weeks until I am done with this class. That may seem pessimistic, but even my optimistic spirit hates Finance. The upside is that this is the last class that my interest in the topic does nothing to mitigate the stress and headaches associated with completing the class material. 11 weeks and I will be done with Finance classes. I may not enjoy the class time for the next 11 weeks, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime, I have one class and three days of work standing between me and Labor Day weekend. My plans kick off with a deep tissue massage on Friday night. I plan on feeling like a new woman on Saturday morning.

What are you plans for the last big summer hurrah?

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Wednesday Highlights

Sleep: 8 Hours

Work: 8.5 Hours

Study: 2 Hours plus 3 Hour class

Workout: Walk with Tucker

Soundtrack: Mambo #5

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Surviving Grad School Tips

You Know You’re In Grad School When…

  1. Healthy meals become a challenge. “Time to cook? I barely have time to eat!”
  2. 7 hours of sleep is heaven.
  3. Working through lunch has a new definition: lunch break-> study time.
  4. First Saturday off after classes finish, do you party? No, you’re in bed watching TV at 9pm, asleep by 11pm.
  5. It takes super human control to not roll your eyes at friends complaining about being tired.
  6. You’re half asleep during workouts (if you have time to workout).
  7. Periods of only having to worry about work become a luxury.
  8. The university log in becomes a permanent fixture on your browser.
  9. Weekend plans now include homework.
  10. You lose motivation to do things you enjoy because you’re too tired from work and school.

Now that I have totally bummed you out about grad school…

It’s Friday, go enjoy the weekend! I am heading to a wedding this weekend. It’s my last weekend of freedom before fall classes!

 

Best,

Katherine

Halfway There, Whoa! Living on a Prayer!

I am halfway done with my MBA! 6 more classes to go!

I never would have imagined how good it would feel to pack up my work bag and not have to bring school stuff with me. I’m not sure what it has been about this stretch of classes, but the feeling of elation after completing my final on Monday surpassed any excitement I’ve had in completing a grad school class so far.I have two weeks until fall classes start, and thus two days before the class I have dreaded from the start begins.

Corporate Finance

Just saying it has a crushing effect on morale. This is the only class in the program that I have a particular distaste for. I know i can do well in the class, but I also know that this is not a subject that I find easy to get into and I will need to dedicate a lot of time to making sure I fully understand the material. I know a couple people who are in the same section of the class with me, which can be helpful for those tougher chapters. #StudyBuddy. I plan on buying the book before classes start and skimming the first few chapters to get myself re-acclimated to the “wonderful” world of finance.

As I get ready to take on the fall semester, I also reflect on the summer semester. I don’t regret taking summer classes, but it is probably not something I would do again unless I was genuinely interested in the class. I also would not recommend a two weekend seminar during a 12 week stretch of 2 nights per week classes. While I enjoyed all of the classes I took this summer, the last couple weeks have been tough. My performance and engagement with classes definitely suffered in the process. Effects like this are why I place such a heavy emphasis on  finding balance. Cramming as much as you possibly can into a day or week may seem like a great way to be productive, but at what cost? Despite a long week before it, I enjoyed the first weekend of my seminar. However, by the last day of weekend two, I was so exhausted that I was getting headaches during lectures and becoming annoyed when fellow classmates extended a conversation around a topic more than a few minutes.  That is not how you want to spend your class time, you get nothing out of it. My advice to students looking at summer classes: be aware of the shortened time frame and make sure that you are prepared to spend the same amount of time on class as you would for a full semester. Keep in mind other commitments you have and summer plans that you do not want to sacrifice. If you can not honestly (being truly honest with yourself) say that you can dedicate the necessary time to classes and still have that down time to recuperate, I would advise taking an extra semester to finish your program over burning yourself out trying to get it done. Being cranky in class is not a fun time.

Until the week of August 31st, I am focused on enjoying my time off. There will be plenty of time to worry about class this fall. If there is one thing I have learned from the first half of grad school, take advantage of breaks when you have them. I have slept in, had complete workouts, and even had some down time this week, and it has been glorious. These are the moments that will a) rejuvenate me to take on the rest of my classes and b) serve as extra motivation to finish so that I can free evenings on a regular basis again.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Wednesday Highlights

Sleep: 7.5 Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1 Hour (finish up answers to group project)

Workout: 2 mile run, Blogilates leg day

Soundtrack: NSYNC radio, it’s that kind of day

 

Sunday Shenanigans 8/7//16

I am sad to report that there will be no shenanigans today.

Unless of course you refer to the shenanigans my professor employs to keep 25 MBA students engaged for 8 hours on a Sunday. It is, ladies and gentlemen, that time where I have elected to spend two weekends of my summer locked in a classroom in exchange for 3 credits towards my degree. This seemed like a great idea when I first registered and it gives me freedom in scheduling the rest of my classes, but as I sit in a freezing classroom on a beautiful Michigan summer day, I question my decision. I had no reprieve after work on Friday and limited time this weekend and next to relax and regroup. My laundry will likely remain in its basket and my workouts will probably be shorter due to sheer exhaustion. As I go into this workweek I will probably be lacking in the sleep department and particularly reliant on caffeine. “It will be worth it” is the permanent mantra in my head.

When I registered for this seminar I was not scheduled to be in another summer class. Now that I am in another class, I will will be at WSU 5 days a week for two weeks. Within that time frame is my group presentation for my Global Automotive Marketing class. I also follow up my last day of the seminar with my final for Global on Monday night and our last project due that Friday. It’s going to be a hectic few weeks.

As I have made my way through this program I have found that the biggest challenge is time. I have not struggled to find classes I am interested in, I have been able to handle the materials, and I am keeping a steady pace towards completing my degree. Time on the other hand, has consistently presented challenges. Something inevitably falls off the priority list and it tends to be something that I shouldn’t ignore. Most recently sleep has been the causality.  I either stay up too late trying to get things done or I have trouble falling asleep because I am thinking about everything that needs to get done. Lack of time has also had a negative impact on my healthy habits. My workouts, while still fairly consistent, have been shorter and not as tough. My regular diet has also been impacted. Less time to cook and less energy has lead to more PB&Js instead of more complex, healthy meals. The demands of changing jobs and the events that accompany those changes have also played a part in the less than ideal composition of my meals. The balancing act of work, school, and (minimal) play has been off balance recently and is in need of a reset. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, that balance is what is going to get me through this journey. Grad students need to have the ability to recognize an imbalance in their responsibilities and priorities and take the steps to make corrections. Without that, there is a real risk for burn out and failure.

 

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Sunday Highlights

Sleep: 6 Hours

Study: 9 Hours

Work: 0 Hours

Workout: 9 holes of very bad golf

“It’s Not Worth It”

Going back to school was not an easy decision. While to many it may have seemed like I jumped into it without a lot of thought, the opposite is true. I knew I wanted to get my MBA, but the decision was not as simple as “I want it.” Not only was I faced with the reality that I would have far less free time to do the things I enjoy, but I was taking on a very expensive endeavor that I would be paying for. I had to consider whether the investment of time and money was going to make a significant impact on my career down the line. Ultimately, I decided that the investment was worth it, and so I started my journey. However, it didn’t take long for me to encounter people who felt that I had made the wrong decision. Comments ranged from the confused but harmless”Wow, that’s a lot of work” to the more direct “I don’t think a MBA adds anything.”

“It’s not worth it”

“It doesn’t mean anything”

“It won’t help in your career”

You made the wrong decision.

They may not have realized it, but that is what all of those comments were really saying. I’ve heard this a lot over the last year, and for the most part I’ve just smiled and moved on. Their comments have no impact on my success and frankly, I don’t care if they think it was the wrong choice. Yet, I would be lying if I said a few of the comments didn’t bother me a little; in particular those that came from people in my industry. There was more than one “good for you, but” conversation that took place with colleagues.  As someone who is still young in an industry, those sentiments can be discouraging when they come from someone who has been successful in the field you wish to excel in.

Despite some less than enthusiatic responses to my choice, I have pushed on. I have chosen to let those comments roll off of me and keep my eye on the prize. I realize that going back to school is not for everyone and everyone is entitled to their own views. However, in defense of everyone who has chosen to go back to school, I need to say

Stop telling me it’s not worth it.

Please, stop.

I debated on writing this post. I generally try to avoid offending people and I try not to call anyone out unless necessary, but I think it is incredibly unfair for someone to negatively comment on another person’s efforts to do something positive. If you don’t think grad school is worth it, that’s fine. Keep those sentiments to yourself unless asked. The student you’re talking to is already exhausted and wondering what they got themselves into, they don’t need your negativity on top of it. Maybe an advanced degree won’t make a huge difference, but maybe it will.

Further, if you are in a program and not paying for it, please stop telling the people who are paying for it that it’s a waste. Please stop flaunting that you wouldn’t be doing it if you had to pay for it. Once again, you are entitled to your opinion, but that type of statement is a slap in the face. You are being provided the same opportunity that they are striving for without the associated financial burden, and you choose to crap all over it. Put yourself in their position and imagine what that feels like.

This may come off like a bit of a rant, but that is not how it is intended. It is simply a PSA for everyone who has a grad student in their life. We’re working hard, many of us while also working full time jobs, and we can use the support of our friends, family, and colleagues in getting through it. You may not agree with our choice or our reasons, but please don’t rain on our parade.

 

Best,

Katherine