Some of you are still working on apps to schools like NYU Stern (Round 3 — totally viable!! — due on January 15) or MIT Sloan (how on earth have they managed to be so awesome in setting their deadline so late in January??) or INSEAD or LBS who both have viable deadlines in the future. But for most of you, the craziness of the past 10 days has peaked and maybe even fallen off into this weird limbo territory of “What just happened?” and “What do I do now?”
Some of you managed it just fine: You got started early, you paced yourself, you tracked deadlines and left enough time.
Oh wait who are we kidding. There’s like two BSers total who do that. The rest of you, the past two weeks have been a mad dash through hell.
One question you can ask yourself now is:
“How did I deal with the stress of it?”
Stress causes all of us to not be our best. Are there apologies that need to be made now? Sometimes we’re short-tempered with those in our life when we’re feeling the pressure. It’s nobody’s fault — not really. It’s that when we feel cornered (which racing to a deadline can feel like) then our base instincts of self protection rear up and take over. We may say or do things that just aren’t so friendly. If you need to patch some relationships, don’t wait. Do it now.
Along those lines, if there were people in your life who were incredibly accommodating — a manager who let you take two days off unexpectedly, or one who worked late to get recommendations done for you because you didn’t give them enough lead time, a mom who respected your request not to call you for three days (okay it’s unlikely your mom would be able to restrain herself that long but you know what we mean) — if there’s anyone who was especially supportive, now too is the time to give thanks. Think through who in your support system was there for you, and reach out and tell them you appreciate it. What you’ve accomplished is a Very Big Deal — regardless of whether you get in or not, the mere act of submitting one or more applications to grad school is significant. You are making a bid to improve yourself. Having people who get it and who were there for you is meaningful.
If you feel like nobody did that for you, then we empathize. That’s a tough spot to be in. This can be a lonely process for sure. But doing what you’ve done is worth it, and your act of courage and believing in yourself is also very significant. Sometimes the people in our life aren’t that supportive, and that can be a real drag. Do it anyway. When you get in, you’ll find a new tribe who are operating at a different tempo, and can undoubtedly be there for you in new ways.
A whole category of “thank you!” belongs to a partner who took care of life for you while you had your eyes glued to your computer monitor for so many hours over the last few weeks. If you have a significant other who took care of the kids 24/7, or a boyfriend or girlfriend who cleared their calendar of any joint obligations and knew that this was where you needed to put all your attention, who brought you a cup of coffee in bed to help you get up in time for work when you’d only made it to sleep a few hours previously… This person deserves a big heaping dose of gratitude now. Especially since the whole “I want to go back to school” thing can be really scary for partners. If your partner is supporting you in any way, shape, or form in this process, have some quality time together now and really communicate to this person how much this means to you. You’re going to need this person’s support even more as you actually start the journey of the MBA. Reciprocate their love for you visibly, and often. That’s how you’re going to maintain and even strengthen your relationship as you each grow together through this process of bschool.
But again, ask yourself: How did you handle the stress?
Maybe you’re someone who thrives on the pressure of deadlines. Maybe you work in a job that’s very deadline-driven like this, and you feel you do your best work in that setting. (But do you really? A question for another day.)
Regardless of how much you “enjoyed” the experience or not, it’s still worthwhile to examine:
- Did you eat like crap during this past two-week period? On top of the already-eating-like-crap pattern you were probably in because of The Holidays? Did you indulge in fast food and donuts and gummi worms during your late-night essay-writing sessions?
- Did you skip workouts? Did you blow off all of your exercise routines?
- Did you forget what blue sky looks like? Did you get so holed-up in your apartment that you didn’t see daylight for multiple 24-hour cycles on end?
- Did you skimp on sleep? Did you do one or more 5-hour sleep nights — or did you pull an all-nighter?
When you’re young, you can totally get away with these shortcuts, but they add up and accumulate into an overall effect on your health. Making a regular routine out of these practices is not advisable.
If you resorted to one or more such tactics to get through your app-submit craziness, then our message today is SELF CARE.
Find a way to recharge those batteries — healthily. Not by going out to happy hour with the guys tonight.
Instead, schedule true rejuvenation for yourself this weekend. Get a massage. Get out of town. Put on those hiking boots and get out in nature, or grab the snowboard and find some slopes. Get into a pool, or a hot tub. Get some sleep.
Disconnect from the world.
Whatever is the thing that you know makes you feel one with the world… Do that.
And spend some time reflecting.
Was this past week fun for you?
If the answer is “OMG no, a thousand times no” then pay attention to that.
Use this time to learn from this.
If you get into bschool — WHEN you get into bschool — there will be deadlines up the wazoo. Term papers. Quizzes. Group projects. If you don’t go into that experience with a level of maturity about you, you’re going to suffer. The schools all try to warn you and prep you during orientation, to help you understand what it’s going to be like, but NOW is the time when you have a fresh experience at hand to leverage.
Another question of course is:
“Why did this happen?”
What is it about your mental and emotional make-up that created such a difficult end-state for you — when you knew that these deadlines were coming?
The simple answer is “procrastination” and it’s very tempting to want to beat yourself up over that. Which is not useful, because procrastination is a human tendency that all of us suffer from. There’s no place for shame or guilt in this when it’s so universal.
But your mind is a system, and you can study it, and learn.
If you’re interested in such topics, then continue on here.
In biology, they claim that the individual cannot evolve, that evolution only happens at the species level. However, our experience is that that is simply not true. YOU can evolve. YOU can become a better version of the person you are today. It takes intention, and interest, and willingness.
We’ll continue to speak of such things over the next few weeks and months. Y’all come back now, you hear?
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