Monday, January 11, 2010

A new year, a new day

At some point during the winter break I stopped being quite so disgruntled about my business school experience. The curriculum started to make more sense, content that I learned in my first quarter classes actually seemed relevant, and I realized that I made a few friends during the first quarter who I like and respect. There was no "aha!" moment, but rather a gradual softening of my negative stance. (Sorry if you never got the memo that I wasn't loving business school, but sharing the bad news on my blog took a backseat to complaining about my experience in real life.)

Now I am back at business school for the 2nd quarter (Stanford is on the quarter system which means that each year we have three terms of classes and the fourth quarter is summer) and am busier than ever. This weekend, I started to feel the familiar and insidious grasp of anxiety to which I was so susceptible during the first quarter. And then I let it go.

One reason I can now let go of the worries is that grades don't matter. They truly don't--anymore. I say "anymore" even though second-years tell us from day 1 that they don't and we then first-years tell each other and our spouses and friends that they don't. Then we try to tell ourselves that grades don't matter. But as the achievement-oriented people who we all are, we cannot truly internalize this. How can we strive only to be in the top 90% of a given course (the level at which you must perform to "pass" a class) when the reason we were permitted to matriculate here is that we have always aimed to be in the top 10 or 5 or 1 percent of any pool to which we have belonged?

But after a quarter under my belt, I now finally know that grades do not matter. What matters is that I use the next 18 months to find people, classes and activities that excite me and that I find an internship that moves me towards my goals. I haven't gotten that involved in clubs and activities, but the ones to which I am committing, I care about and will allocate my time accordingly. I have classes that excite me (economics) and classes that are dull (statistics and modeling) and I will allocate my time accordingly. Grade non-disclosure gives me the freedom to do just that and for that, I am thankful.


DreamChaser said...

glad to hear that your experience is getting better! I have followed your blog for awhile and really admire your honesty in your post. I wonder if you could elaborate a little more about why you wasn't loving GSB the first quarter? I will be going to bschool this fall and would really want to learn more about what aspects I should look at when choosing school and how should I prepare the experience. To be honest, it's a little disheartening to learn that you didn't have a great experience first quarter at GSB since it's one school that I was sure that I could have an amazing experience~ Thanks! and good luck with the winter quarter!

MilitaryToBusiness said...

I'm right there with you on the east coast. Best of luck with internship hunting!

Anonymous said...

My two favorite MBA bloggers on one page!

I would also like to hear what about your experience wasn't working for you. Most of the other bloggers are total sycophants and it would be nice to hear a bit of honest reality.

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