We have plenty to say about researching schools, figuring out if you need to be planning for Round 2, how to construct a good essay… but now doesn’t seem like the time to be spouting that stuff.
If you live in any country but the U.S., you may be seeing news coverage of rising coronavirus cases in your area, or you might be adjusting to another round of restrictions, with curfews or closures or rollbacks happening again. Some places are talking about reinstating lockdowns.
If you’re in the U.S., you might be experiencing a strange sense of stall-out, where the murkiness of our current uncertainty seems to have put time into a molasses phase. The pundits and analysts told us that it might be awhile before the results were known, but nobody told us that it would make everything feel unreal and like it’s moving in slow motion.
Or maybe you’re just totally sick and tired of this being the only thing anybody is talking about?
So how about this:
For most of you, you’ve been working towards a very concrete goal, spending significant time on it for maybe as long as a year: You’re trying to get into business school.
Sitting here today, in early November of 2020, your life is looking a particular way. It’s likely got more unknowns than knowns in it right now, what with the pandemic, and the election, and the pending decisions coming in about a month on your Round 1 applications.
You probably have felt like your whole life is on hold, in a way. Maybe you’ve curtailed plans for holiday travel, or you’re not traveling at all. So many restrictions. So many ways that life has been upended.
This is only a moment. It’s a year that has felt endless, but in the context of your whole life, it’s small. Big impact indeed, for many of us, but the time scale we’re operating in is not that great.
Here’s the thing: Next year at this time, we’re betting that everything about your life will be completely different than now.
That’s because of the work you’re putting in on those apps, and it’s because we’re likely to have a vaccine by then, which will at least be slowly allowing us to resume life again. Travel, sporting events, going to the movies — at this point next year, we should either be able to do some of that (in small numbers perhaps, or limited regions) OR we will have a sense of clarity on when such events can begin.
We will know.
Or we will think we know, indulging in that very human propensity to believe that we understand what the future holds. We never do, but it gives us comfort as thinking/feeling creatures to imagine it. A false sense of security, but even a false sense still makes us feel better.
So here’s what you can do. Take a moment right now. Close your eyes. Think over the schools you’ve applied to, that you’ve made progress at, where you’ve interviewed, and felt a sense of belonging when you have interacted with that school community, where you have a sense of the fit, and why you want to go there, and why it would be a good place for you to learn and to grow.
Imagine yourself there. Next year, early November, 2021.
What will that look like?
What will that feel like?
What will that be like?
You are currently, right now, working to create a particular kind of future for yourself, based on the efforts you’re putting in with testing and essays and apps. All of that effort is to get someplace new.
Imagine it now. What will it be?
This weird moment is weird, but the weirdness won’t last. At some point soon, you’ll be in your future, and this weirdness will be gone.
What will your future look like?
Will you appreciate it when it arrives?
Consider putting an alert into your calendar for November 6, 2021, to remind you of this moment you’re taking now. Your future self can look back and remember your current self and this moment you’re spending in intentional reflection.