The world is truly in transition. At some point in the future, a sense of normalcy will return, where you’ll have a routine in your life (that includes leaving the house and going places, without bringing gloves and mask and hand sanitizer!), where you’ll talk about things like sports and movies and modern art or travel or whatever it is that floats your boat and gets you excited by life. Where you’re not feeling on edge and anxious or depressed or both when you go to bed and when you wake up again in the morning. (If you’re not feeling these things, then it could be that you’re shut down, and that’s OK too; each of us handles this particular type of stress differently.)
Maybe you got into bschool in Round 1 and you’re hanging onto that plan with all that you’ve got, determined to continue with the sequence of events you had laid out for yourself many moons ago: Quit your job sometime this Spring or right when Summer begins; pack up things, sell stuff on craigslist, do a major Marie Kondo on your life with many trips to donate old books and such to the local Goodwill or whatever charity’s second-hand shop; move into your new apartment near campus; go off on a whirlwind travel adventure with a bunch of new friends who are all starting your MBAs together; then launch into the excitement of the beginning of the semester and actually sitting in a classroom with textbooks and a professor starting sometime in August or early September.
Maybe you have every intention, come hell or high water, of following through with that. Maybe you’re not even considering any other possibilities, even though you know that the campuses are all currently empty of students.
If you’ve been accepted in Round 2 and you simply don’t know what to do, then the best advice for now is don’t do anything. EssaySnark can’t guarantee this, but we’re guessing that the schools will be able to offer some flexibility on deadlines for accepting offers. Even though they’ve communicated to you that you need to make a deposit by a certain date, it’s likely that they will give you more time if you need more time than that, once the date arrives.
If at all possible, just tell yourself that you don’t have to make this decision today. Many people respond to stress by wanting to lock down on decisions, to try and control the things in their life that feel out of control, so it may feel impossible for you to do this. But as the thought comes up, which may arise as a worrying thing, like a worm that keeps wriggling in your brain (eew sorry for the icky visual) — then just respond with patience. “It’s OK,” you can tell yourself. “Right now, I am safe. There’s a lot in the future that I will have to decide, but for now, I can just be here and live this day as it is.” Breathe into your belly; maybe place a palm across your abdomen, to hold yourself still. Feel your feet on the floor. Get grounded.
It’s totally legit for you to be questioning what’s right.
Especially if you’d be going to school in another state (or country) from your family. That can be unnerving.
Or, maybe now you’re feeling hopeful and optimistic, with the news of some states planning to reopen, and some schools coming out solidly that they plan to offer instruction in the Fall. (Ummm…. Just to be clear, when a school like Harvard makes a big deal about saying that they will be open for business, all they’re promising is what already exists: That Harvard will be educating students. There’s no decision at any school for certain that it’ll be on campus or not. The only certainty we’ve heard so far is the few schools that have committed to offering online options for classes even if on campus also happens, as UC Berkeley and some others have done. There are no business schools that have committed 100% to be on-campus yet.)
Anyway — maybe you’re feeling upbeat again, when you see headlines that a vaccine might be out in January (EssaySnark is skeptical, though we do hope it happens!!) or you hear that tech stocks actually did OK in Q1 so maybe things aren’t so bad with your target job sector, and all the schools are doing all this outreach to try and reassure and woo you.
There are many possibilities, and you have options — which may make you feel relieves, or more stressed out, depending on your specific circumstances. The last few weeks, all of us have been under what’s known as the “fog of war” — that’s mostly true for those on the front lines, working in government and dealing with the public, or anyone in health care delivery of any kind. Decisions have to be made incredibly fast on really poor information, and things are going at warp speed, and it’s like you’ve lived ten years in the space of a month. That seems to be easing somewhat, as we’re all settling into what this is going to be for the next month or so, and potentially some loosening of these lockdown orders. (Though as you might guess, EssaySnark is in the camp where we all should still be staying home, lest we risk skyrocketing the infection rate all over again.)
For now, what you have is today, and this week, and we’ll all just have to see how it goes. Making plans now is pretty much impossible — unless you’re in one specific category: Maybe all this uncertainty has made you re-evaluate your life, and look at your path, and you even decided that, nah, bschool is not calling your name anymore. Maybe you’ve experienced a loss (we hope not, but it’s inevitable that some of you will have been affected by this virus directly). Maybe that’s caused you to reconsider priorities.
If you know already that you don’t want to go get an MBA right now, we truly respect that. Things change. Life certainly has. You’re not anything like the person you were even in January.
If you feel in your gut that school is not where you should be this year, then honor that. Be authentic to the shift you’re experiencing.
Bschool will be there whenever you decide that the timing is right. Or never, if that’s what your direction in life determines.
A wholesale change in strategy for yourself could be unnerving, after all this upheaval and uncertainty. Or, for some of you, it could bring clarity and peace. It could make a lot of sense for some people to find a different path now. The MBA is not everything. This crisis may have helped you see your life in new terms.
Take a moment this weekend, amongst the endless Netflix and before you shake another Quarantini, to think about who you are now, and if anything has changed. Reaffirm that the decisions you’ve made are the right ones. It’s not too late to change, and if you really don’t know, there’s no need to finalized anything in any direction.
The world is still sorting itself out.
You have time.