A Mid 20s Night’s Dream

TraIn yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose

Monday Motivation 6/5/17

Train yourself to let you of everything you fear to lose

-Yoda

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The Truth Behind the Smile

I am less than three months away from being done with school; where has the last year and a half gone?! As I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, it has been a crazy ride but one that I am glad I took. There are, of course, the educational and career centered benefits that I have and will continue to enjoy, but this time has also been a reminder to myself of what I can accomplish.

I started this blog to capture my journey, not only as a way for me to look back and reflect on my time in the program, but also to act as a guide, helping hand, or motivating force for anyone who happened to stumble upon it. For the most part, I have been open and honest about the trials, tribulations, and moments of joy that have made up my journey. I’ve discussed what it is like to keep things in balance, tips for healthy living, and even how to deal with the doubters. However, there is an area of struggle that I have declined to share in my MBA story, an area that is not fun to think about, and even less fun to live, but one that plays an important role one’s ability to survive and thrive in grad school. People always ask how I manage to balance school and work, let alone having a life outside of those two, topics I have discussed at length here. One thing that people don’t ask (probably because it is a rather invasive question) is how to maintain that balance when life outside of school and work throws a fireball at you. We all get them at some point in our life, the event that throws your world into chaos, turns your focus, and generally makes things that are important harder to manage. Those events are enough of a pain when you have a singular focus, whether it be school or work or something else all together. Add it to an already crowded agenda, and your carefully balanced ship starts to list a bit or even sink. As a grad student who has worked hard to do well, facing a threat of that size to their level of success is quite daunting. The pressure to refocus and continue perform is there, but the energy to execute can sometimes be hard to find.

Now, I recognize this post has a rather different tone than the rest, something that was done intentionally. My approach to life has long been an optimistic one. I find the silver lining or look to the brighter future. On days where I am unable to do that, I try to hide the struggle with a smile. It’s not always easy, but the idea of “fake it til it’s true” has some merit to it. A smile is bound to get you  further than a frown. For anyone who is reading this blog, I want my posts to deliver a sense of motivation, an affirmation that grad school is something they can take on. However, I don’t want to sugar coat the realities of the impact that a life event, major, minor, or somewhere in between, can have on the grad school journey, or whatever journey you may be on. I don’t have a universal solution to facing these types of events; the solution is dependent on the person and their unique situation. The one piece of advice I can offer is to take it one day at a time, find strength in yourself, and surround yourself with people who can lend a little of their strength on the days where yours is running on low. Growing up my mom always told me that every day is a gift, and she was right. Life will hand you days that are less wonderful than others, but you were still given that day. No matter the situation, you always have the power to decide how you will approach that day. So choose an approach that makes you feel stronger, even if it’s only strong enough to make it through that day. It’s sounds a little sappy, but I promise it works.

 

Best,

Katherine

Grad School life - The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I have essentially failed at my new year’s goal of getting back to posting regularly on here. To be fair, work has been quite the roller coaster on top of school and attempting to have some semblance of a social life.

I am halfway through my second to last term in grad school. Midterms for Winter 2017 were last week. I also registered for… MY LAST CLASS!!!!!! I will officially be done with graduate school as of June 27th, 2017. Seeing as my birthday is the 26th, that is a pretty awesome birthday present. Unlike my last semester of undergrad, there are no bittersweet moments for me when I think about being done with school, only elation and a revelation that I will have free time again. That may sound like I have hated my time in school and dread the moments I have left on campus, but that is not how I mean it. I have enjoyed a significant portion of the time spend pursuing my MBA, but I am ready to be done. The bittersweet moments of ending undergrad stemmed from the memories made on campus and the comprehensive experience of being in college. While I have met some great people and learned a great deal in grad school, the comprehensive experience of being in grad school while working full time lacks the same appeal as the experience of undergrad.

The next few weeks will be a bit of a whirlwind of work and school, but it only brings me closer to the end of my time in the MBA program. The promise of summer, with no more classes and plenty of time spent on my paddle board, provides me with a light at the end of the tunnel to get me through the nights spent in a classroom instead of home cuddling with my dog. To say I am looking forward to those free nights would be an understatement.

This post will be short, as I am quickly running out of brain power, but I will leave you on a positive note. For as much as I have complained about school in the last year and a half, as I come to the end of it I can say that it is something I am glad I did. I have made new friends, expanded my expertise, and confirmed that I am more than capable of achieving all that I hope to achieve in my professional career. If you think you want to go back to school, do it! It will be a crazy, exhausting, stressful whirlwind, but it will be worth it.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Getting your MBA is an emotional roller coaster

MBA? Get Ready For A Roller Coaster

Learning is fun right? Furthering your skill set is awesome! Grad school is a field of daisies…no.

Don’t worry, this will not be 500 words of me complaining about how much school sucks, but it will be a real look at just how much of an emotional roller coaster grad school can be. It has a happy ending though.

Last week I wrote about my new four week class, International Marketing with Dr. Yaprak. In that post I talked about how I hadn’t wanted to go to class and how the long week made 3 hours of class sound painful, but my time in class was actually quite enjoyable. This week’s classes took me for a similar ride, particularly on Tuesday. I drove to campus after a long work day with the thought more work still to be completed after class weighing on my mind. That is not a great mindset to be in when you will be discussing international marketing research and statistics for 3 hours. Stats can be enough of a headache when it is the easy stuff, adding the additional requirements for reliability and validity across nations is cause for an extra dose of caffeine even if you haven’t already completed a 9 hour work day. Despite being exhausted, and honestly a little uninterested in being in class when I walked into the lecture, 20 minutes in I was fully engaged and enjoying the discussion my professor was facilitating. It was still a long class, but my mood was noticeable improved following the lecture. As I drove home that night, the extent to which going back to school places you on an emotional roller coaster struck me. That is not to say that I have not noticed or thought of this in the last year and a half, but the fact that the swing was so drastic and took place in such a short time span was something worth noting.

Going back to school holds plenty of promise, the opportunity of career advancement being one of priority for many students, but the smaller victories and defeats of being back in school tend to be overlooked. Success on a paper, or project, or even in a lecture discussion can take your day from a 2 to a 10. Unfortunately, the opposite can be said for a poorer than expected grade or walking into a test feeling prepared only to find that you studied the wrong material. All of these ups and downs are exhausting, especially when combined with the greater stress of being back in school and the time and effort that goes with it. This is something that I feel many students are not fully expecting when they start a grad school program. They expect the hard work, the long nights, and the frustrations that come with any type of schooling, but may underestimate the number of ups, downs, twists, and turns that accompany the grad school life. It is much more than head down and move towards the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, as I have moved this program I have come to believe that the emotional roller coaster is almost an additional course for student to succeed in. Grad school is more than just what happens in the classroom or in pursuit of class requirements, there are life lessons to be learned even by those who have been in the work force for many year. (For the record, I acknowledge how cheesy that sounds, but I stand by it).

I think I was lucky when I entered my program; I had watched people close to me go through this process before I started and so I had expectations of up and downs, but I still may have underestimated the emotional component of grad school. If I were to give advice to anyone considering grad school, and in particular a MBA, I would address this subject. Be ready to work hard, be ready to commit, and be ready to start a crazy ride.

 

Best,

Katherine

Around the (Marketing) World in 72 Hours

Oh what a week. If ever there was a week when I wish I did not have class, this would be it. I love what I do, but I would be lying if I said every moment is cupcakes and rainbows. To spend the day in essentially a state of controlled chaos and then go directly to class is not a schedule that I would like to become my regular. That’s not to say that I did not enjoy my time in class, because exactly the opposite it true. You know a class is good when it can hold the attention of a student who has spent nearly twelve hours bouncing between meetings, trainings, and data sheets for an additional three hours. Further, my professor did this not once this week, but twice! International Marketing is shaping up to be a class that is worth the stress of a condensed four-week schedule.

To start, Dr. Yaprak is a personable guy who is incredibly passionate about what he does. The excitement that he brings to his discussions is hard to brush aside. He also demands students’ full attention and engagement in the class, which makes for a much more interesting three hours than those filled with a monologue lecture and a PowerPoint presentation. Dr. Yaprak has no illusions that his MBA students would rather sit in class after work than relax at home, but his approach is that if you are going to sit in class, you should get something out of it. While I was completely exhausted when I walked into class both days this week, I can honestly say that my time spent in class was worthwhile. Before class started I knew that I was interested in the material that we would be discussing and that the next four weeks could be advantageous as I advance in my field. However, after the first two classes I can see that not only am I interested, but I am kind of excited to dig in. I will be the first to admit that I am a bit of a nerd, especially when it comes to my industry. I’ve spent a good portion of my career in marketing research and am continually intrigued by what can be discovered in consumer and research data. A large portion of this class will rely on research and research methodology, topics that Dr. Yaprak is quite knowledgeable about given his research and publication history. While I work with a great team who know their stuff on daily basis in my career, it is fun to be able to “nerd out” about data and research in a non work environment.

All of that said, this class will be a lot of work. We have multiple cases to critically review, plenty of class readings, and a comprehensive group research project. In an eleven-week semester those items represent a fairly typical class work load, but this class’ shortened time frame means that my group and I will be cranking our level of effort up for the next few weeks.

Hopefully this work load will mot impede my goal of getting back into regularly posting, but if it does, I apologize in advance.

 

Best,

Katherine