Time flies when you have none of it.
Seriously, it’s halfway through Mod A? After the drawn out, almost glacial semester in Milan, it has been a shock getting back into the breakneck pace of the Cox School of Business and its 8-week length class schedule. I’ve barely been in the country a month and we are already organizing final deliverables for courses. No wonder I’ve been tired.
It’s been an experience with positive and negative aspects. Here are some of them.
Firstly, the rapid pace means that the short turnaround times for assignments allow you to have continuous assessment. You always know where you stand when you have work due and get results back every week. Even if the downside means doing assignments and studying for quizzes every week.
I’ve learned a lot. With only 8 weeks to teach a course, you can’t mess around. You’re straight into the material, and building the difficulty quickly. But that means in the past month I’ve covered (and absorbed – see previous paragraph) what many courses would cover in 3 or even 6 months.
Knowing that you’re halfway also means knowing that it’ll be over soon. It lifts your spirits. Never mind that there’s another set of courses after this one, what matters is that the present workload is nearly done.
Wow it’s tiring. I’m certain Milan made me soft. It’s taken a month to get back into the habit of functioning at peak performance 7 days a week on less than 6 hours of sleep a night. Caffeine helps. The good people of the Cox Business Leadership Center have been especially helpful in that regard (thanks for all the free coffee and encouragement!). Still, there’s a persistent feeling in the back of your mind that you should be sleeping.
And even with all that time awake, little to none of it is “free” time. You live, sleep, eat, drink the MBA Life. If you’re not in class, you’re usually working on something for class. That said, the early morning sessions in the gym are sacrosanct, for both physical and mental health.
Because every single one of your fellow students is also loaded up with work, scheduling anything requiring more than one person becomes a logistical nightmare. Organizing a simple group project meeting becomes an operations management puzzle on par with organizing the Olympic Games.
With this logistical puzzle is the inevitable balancing act that we all face as students. You are forced to prioritize and to make sacrifices in order to succeed. The burning question is what to sacrifice. Every aspect of the experience rightly demands attention and effort, whether it’s classes and team projects, internship work, the job hunt, or the social networking. All are essential, and prioritizing one over the other is a painful process.
This has all been a worthwhile experience. The learning, the friendships, the once in a lifetime opportunities. All worth the late nights and the stress. Thankfully, due to some hard work and careful scheduling, I get to have a mini midterm break today, and go out to play and watch some rugby. I even got to take in an opera last night (Talbot and Scheer’s “Everest”, an amazing and powerful new work that I hope gets picked up by other companies), and be reminded why the Dallas Arts District is such a fantastic place.
It’s time to go and enjoy this break, but even though the hard work is hardly over, all that’s left to say is here’s to the next half.
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.