Ever wonder how Foster MBAs gear up for a new week of classes, manage their career searches, and manage to keep themselves sane? Here is one account.
By Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013. Gwyn graduated from Smith College with a double-major in Computer Science and American Studies. After teaching two years in rural Mississippi with Teach for America, she spent five years in the educational testing industry before her interest in organizational behavior and development drew her to business school.
It is 9:30 Sunday morning when the homework panic hits. Over coffee and an English muffin, I start running through the present status of my weekend To Do list. Due to surprisingly gorgeous weather, I only completed one assignment on Saturday, a review and self-evaluation of a speech I gave last week in ‘Finding Your Voice,’ a business communications course…which means that I have a lot to do on Sunday.
I have to:
- Update my resume and draft and submit cover letters for 2 internships
- Review the speech of one of my classmates and provide peer feedback
- Read Bill Gate’s Harvard commencement speech as a sample exhortation to ‘Change the World’
- Read 2 assigned articles for my Ads & Promotions class
- Complete an online problem set on MyAccountingLab
- Complete a case write up for Managerial Accounting
- Prep for a 5 PM team meeting on our first Operations case of the term
- Write a personal statement and submit my scholarship application for the coming school year
Oh, and also:
- Clean my apartment
- Do two loads of laundry
- Go grocery shopping
- Prepare dinner and fix lunches for the beginning of the week
- Go to bed on time!
My mind spinning, I feel myself getting sucked into an anxiety-driven negative feedback loop. How will I get everything done? There are not enough hours in the day!
And then I remember that I have given myself a mantra to get through days like this: I can only do one thing at a time, and it is going to be OK.
First things first, I run my laundry down to the basement. Easy. Done.
In sequence, over the next few hours, I diligently work my way through my chores and most of my homework assignments, and even manage to submit my scholarship application. Every time my mind tries to distract me with dire warnings – you have so much more to do! Don’t forget you have a meeting tonight! And there is no food in the fridge! – I remind myself: I can only do one thing at a time. It is going to be OK.
And so, one step at a time, I work my way through the afternoon, completing my course work.
An hour into my team meeting, my colleague and I are stuck with only two out of three case questions answered. Reviewing the case and our class notes illuminates nothing, so we agree to break early. He makes plans to follow-up with our professor the next day while I agree to turn our preliminary notes into workable text; we will reconvene with the rest of our team Monday evening. Sometimes, the best solution to a knotty problem is to know when to take a step back.
I stop by the grocery store to stock up on food for the week and when I get home I decide to take an hour (or two…or three!) off of work to make myself dinner, watch some TV and browse the Internet. At 10:00 PM it’s back to work to finish off the night with my Managerial Accounting write-up. But wait – have I forgotten something?
I check the Foster MBA Jobs website and confirm that two internships I have flagged as possibilities have applications due tonight. Do I have time to write both cover letters AND finish my case? I certainly don’t have time to panic, so I set to work. After checking in with some friends online and getting both advice and encouragement, I return my attention to the two internships. One of them, I realize, was flagged in haste; the job description matches neither my background nor my interests. Well, that’s one less thing to do! In the next hour I shine up my resume and craft a new cover letter, with notes I saved from the Career Center to serve as reminders of format, content, do’s and don’t’s. After reading through my materials twice, I submit my application just under the wire. Phew!
I quickly shift gears back to my Managerial Accounting case and begin to work on my write-up but find myself struggling to make simple connections. I look at the clock and have to acknowledge that I am pretty much useless this close to midnight; if I keep plugging away it will be nothing but diminishing returns for the rest of the night.
And so I go to bed.
At 7:30 Monday morning, I return to the task at hand. Over coffee and an English muffin, I work my way through a comparison of a traditional costing system and activity-based costing at a small commercial bank. In less than an hour I’ve completed the case and posted responses to the course’s page on Blackboard.
The sun is shining yet again as I head out of my apartment towards the bus. I can tell that this week is off to a great start! I can only do one thing at a time, and right now I’m going to enjoy blue skies above my head and the blossoming trees that line my route towards town.