And both are starting to run low.
Each day has been at least 16 hours long, with most of the day given over to program related activities. The only free time has been spent doing sports, eating, or in bed. Virtually all socializing is done in the context of program-related events. This is all manageable in and of itself. Once you build up momentum into this lifestyle, you can handle it pretty well. After all, an object in motion stays in motion.
What makes you hit the wall is the unexpected things that sap your emotional capability and throw you off your rhythm. The swings of mood knock you about and leave you more exhausted. This is some of what caused me to hit the wall:
- Monday night, after a long day on campus (0630-2130), going to ride home and finding a flat tyre (and having to call in Jack my housemate to give me a lift home – for which I am most grateful).
- Tuesday, misplacing my student ID and working out how to find the time to get it replaced.
- The subsequent euphoria on Wednesday morning when I found my ID (down the bottom of my rockclimbing boot of all places). Followed by the sharp wake-up call of a mock exam with less than stellar results. Hearing the lovely voices of the Meadows Opera rehearse for their concert, then feeling as if I could never sing as well as them. Then an inspiring chat with a seminar speaker about opportunities in the consulting world.
- Thursday, interviews and presentations where I felt underprepared. Followed by an outstanding concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra spent with my wonderful MA/MBA colleagues.
- Friday, waking up late and stressing over the time lost, but then meeting with one of the leading thinkers in data analytics in the arts sector for lunch; he’s agreed to mentor me through the MA/MBA program.
- Saturday, realising that an assignment was going to take three times as long as I had estimated. And knowing that there were other assignments due, and a mid-term to study for.
Ups and downs indeed.
It breaks you down, and leaves you emotionally vulnerable. This week was the first real time I’ve felt lonely, isolated and helpless here.
More than once this week I’ve wanted to just curl up and cry for a bit. Just for a little catharsis.
More than once this week I’ve considered whether moving halfway across the world to do an MBA was the best life choice.
More than once this week I’ve considered whether it was better to have stayed home, spent my savings on a Toyota 86, got a job stocking supermarket shelves, and whiled away my free time playing Grand Theft Auto V.
When you hit the wall, anything else looks like a better option. Moreover, hitting the wall impairs your judgment, and hits your self-esteem. I’ve found myself feeling like a fraud at times, waiting for the façade to crumble and the fingers to be pointed in my direction. I’m surrounded by exceptionally smart people, and I don’t feel as if I have the knowledge, experience or ability to match them.
But I can. And I will.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. And he was someone who knew what going through hell meant. The wall is not impenetrable. It’s just a wall. Hell, in truth it’s just a shaky metaphor to hang a blog post on.
Moreover, I know my fellow students are in the same boat. We can break through the wall. And all we have to do is keep going.
It’s going to be tough, but we’ll make it.