This week, I hit the wall. That mental and physical point where every movement and every thought is faced with an impenetrable resistance. So far, my perseverance in the face of it has been sustained by willpower and caffeine.
And both are starting to run low.
Let’s remember for a moment that this wasn’t something unexpected. Every student who has been through the program warned us. The first module would be the hardest. And we all steeled ourselves against what was to come. Nevertheless, all our preparations could not have shielded us fully from the intensity of the experience.
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:
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.
Observations on music, coffee, and the occasional controversial thought.
Copyright © Gerard Atkinson 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the owner is strictly prohibited.