“I’m am so intrigued, how do you balance it all?”

Ha, ha yeah, typical, always having a lot going on. I still do the marketing events which is basically getting paid to smile and talk to people while drinking cheap champagne for a few hours – you don’t have to use your brain at all, it’s awesome! They needed help through the fall so fuck it, why not and sometimes my friend James works the events with me which means we cause trouble.

I also do a little bit of visual merchandising for a men’s line at two of the major department stores – again, brainless work but I may end up dropping that. The company that hired me to do the visual merchandising offered me a part-time recruiter position at their corporate office which was totally unexpected. It’s seasonal so not permanent, which is perfect!

The timing of all of this just happened to be good and I needed to make money but without the commitment, if that makes any sense. But the reality is, all of these things are temporary and will be ending soon, so it eliminates the pressure which is such a switch from when I was working full-time and in school. All of my classes are in the evening and so far I don’t feel stretched too thin but the last month of school is always the hardest, so we’ll see. I absolutely do not want to work during my final semester and I am trying to position myself to go back to work for real and that is a job within itself but school is the top priority, period, and that makes a big difference. I am also still on academic probation but I try not to allow the pressure of this to take over.

But with that said, yes! I am still on track to graduate this spring which to be honest is hitting me hard because, wow! Grad life is almost over! So I am appreciating every, single second of it which makes me love school even more and forces me to work hard. When you start to make the most of something it doesn’t feel as though you are giving away too much of yourself. You appreciate what used to be stressful. You start to find the time spent in the car during your commute as time to take a deep breath.

But to answer your question, I am able to balance it all because I don’t take on anything that doesn’t bring added value to my life and I make sure to take care of myself first. Even if that means saying NO to things all of the time, which isn’t always fun but whatever. It is essential to do what makes you feel productive and happy and energized, otherwise you become exhausted and miserable and what’s the point? I have learned this by making so many mistakes, particularly last spring when my hair started falling out again from doing too much shit that I hated and for all of the wrong reasons. Reasons to make me forget about him and the fact that I was “stuck” in the U.S., which only backfired because once I had too much time on my hands over the summer I completely fell apart, so there’s been an emotional underlining to all of this too. Interestingly enough we have managed to remain very close even with so many changes and cities and countries and that’s what keeps me going. This entire experience with him motivates me in different ways and right now I don’t want to sit with the loneliness or think about this distance. Especially with the holidays coming (but my brother will be home this year and that will be awesome).

Perhaps this gives you a sense of why I really want to connect right now. I am craving that bonding you would get simply from having brunch with a good friend. I miss our chats.

Time to Reconnect

This semester I have felt remarkably disconnected, which makes me unhappy. So last week I was inspired to change that. I sent out the following email to the entire business school because why the hell not? Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy and I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would get, if any. But my desire to reconnect trumped the fear of caring what people might think. And what do you know? The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. My email was appreciated, timely, and “much needed”. I thought that sharing this message on my blog would be a great reminder to continue to feel the fear and do it anyway.

*Some names have been changed for privacy.

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Thinking about crafting this message to send you reminds me of my good friend and Mills alumna extraordinaire, Deena Mitchell. Deena would take the time to send messages out to our GSB community; messages that were filled with advice, support, spirit, honesty, and typically sent during the very moment you needed your soul to be fed. Through the written word you would feel a great sense of unity and encouragement which would allow you to feel connected, no matter how much you had going on in every day grad life. I find there is a great sense of disconnect occurring this semester so I wanted to take the time to bring us back together.

At first I wasn’t sure if this feeling of disconnect was because the majority of my ‘peeps’ have graduated or if it was because I am taking all evening classes; I couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t until last night where a few of us were standing around talking and one person says, “I haven’t seen Cora!” Another person states, “Where is Garmisa?” This was followed by, “has anyone talked to Evan?” It was then I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

During the two years I have been in business school I have seen a lot of people come and go. But one thing has remained constant and that is our bond, our connections with one another, and our community. A community that has always been supportive through the hiccuping sobs and the cartwheels of joy. Trust me when I say l understand how busy life can get and that meeting up for coffee becomes impossible. How can you meet for coffee when you don’t even have time to fix the bed in the morning? But take a moment to stop and think about connection and what it means to you. You might just find that while the word “connections” has a lot to do with networking, job leads, leadership roles, conferences, internships, and passing along your resume, at the end of the day, what makes the Lokey GSB community stand out is the connections we have with each other. And if you feel like there isn’t someone who can relate to what you are going through or who understands that breakouts over the age of 30 are indeed a reality, well I am here to tell you that you are NOT alone.

We may be at different stages of life and within the program, but what we have in common is the journey. Take the time today to say hello to someone you don’t know or challenge them to a game of foosball – might as well make the most of that dang thing! And let’s find a way keep the momentum going to support and empower one another as we make our way to the finish line.

Cheers.

Priority

Business school takes top priority. It takes priority over family, work, friends, lovers, and sometimes over getting your hair cut. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth and that’s what makes b-school so incredibly hard. Because how can you put your studies above everything else? How can you place homework over your child or your boyfriend or the dishes? You think you can wait until the last minute to write a case analysis or that you can come home and simply relax after a long day. But that’s not the reality of grad life. Even if school is all you have to worry about, you can’t mess around. It took me a long time to realize this and to grow a really thick skin because it feels as though you are constantly letting someone down and that takes some getting used to. Who knew that putting yourself first could be such a challenge? But through the academic struggles and the exhaustion and the time that has been dedicated to the learning, I have come to the conclusion that I have to suck it up and make my studies come first.

As an MBA candidate there are no excuses, only expectations. There is no such thing as minimal effort. The bar is set so high that when you fall, you fall hard. And I am tired of my ass being bruised. I have tapped into my inner-nerd and she doesn’t want to slow down. I value my education with such intensity and I am proud of this. So when I see a person slacking off and not taking the journey seriously, it makes me not want to be associated with them, just like some probably didn’t want to be associated with me in the beginning. I figure we all learn at or own pace and for me that is always the hard way. But I hope that I can share what I have learned to empower others in knowing that they are not alone. The sacrifices you have to make in order to be successful doesn’t come naturally. It is painful and scary. But to say that the end result is truly rewarding would be an understatement and I am grateful for having come so remarkably far. I never thought I would be the type of person who would turn down a date with a hot guy to study for an exam or an invitation to happy hour with friends to attend a conversation on public policy. I have truly evolved and that only inspires me to work even harder.

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen Covey

Dollars and Sense

I find it annoying when people who are making a lot of money and know that you aren’t working try to organize weekend getaways and expensive dinners and spa days with you, repeatedly. Dang! How many times do I have to hear myself say I am a student with a budget that’s on a budget? This is typically followed by a comment about the cost of my Marc by Marc crossbody which is so rude! You confide in those you trust about how challenging and intense the sacrifices have been to follow your dream, only to be continually pressured to do things that you simply cannot afford. That said, don’t push me to save for a mini-break and don’t diss my expensive handbag!

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou

Great Expectations

It’s easy to throw a heavy blanket of expectations and demands onto another person when you aren’t getting what you want. Most of the time it’s without intention as you may not even realize what you are expecting or demanding. But rest assured you can become so blinded by focusing on what you don’t have that you forget to appreciate all that you do. And what you have is a lot. You are given what you ask for and more, you are just too stubborn to see it. 

Take for example the fact that some people are not in a position to give you what you want and it’s not their fault. They might just be at a different stage in life. A stage of life that makes it practically impossible to align with your own. And instead of respecting the differences, you allow your emotions to run wild which causes you to dump a lot of chaos directly on top of the very person who doesn’t deserve to be dumped on. For some reason you have been doing this since the day you met, causing disagreements and arguments and confusion and fits of rage and tears; giving the person plenty of reason to leave and run as far away from you as possible.

And yet, they don’t. They stick around. Because they truly love and care about you. But you are so damn afraid of losing them that you continue to act out which just pushes them away. Maybe it’s easier to push them away? Maybe you are so used to being fucked over that you assume everyone will play games, take you for granted, abuse your heart and all that you give. Those old wounds rear their ugly little head causing the insecurity and doubt to overshadow the beauty of what you share. You should consider yourself lucky.

And you are. You are like the luckiest woman alive. Because you have what you want. You have someone in your life who you shared something remarkable with. Someone who wasn’t easy getting to know. But once you were “in” it was better than anything you could have ever imagined. Yet you still push.

Maybe you can’t keep it simple, because that’s not who you are. And you aren’t being asked to change. But recognize what you have and how special it is. And leave it there.