Resisting First Year Burn Out

I went on Facebook today and posed a few questions to my colleagues:

Is anybody else burnt out?  Is anybody else just thinking of getting a full-time job and leaving the program?  Did any would-be 2nd years accept a full-time offer from their internship and call it a night?  Is it just because it’s really nice out and we’re stuck indoors studying during the day and stuck indoors at night because of class?

Turns out that no, I am not the only one feeling burnt out.  Yes, there are people who think that maybe it would be worth it to just accept a full-time position.  There were a few first years who left the program before starting their second year.  And yes, the sometimes beautiful weather is a compounding factor.

So what does one do in order to push forward and get across the finish line that is the end of our first year?  The Chinese have an expression of encouragement called “加油” or “jiayou”.  My ping pong coach used to scream this at me during matches or at the end of a training session.  It directly translates to “add oil”, or “add fuel” and means keep pushing and don’t give up.  And that is what we should do.

If you want to use the translation as “oil”, then let’s pour oil on the fire and light it up, spark again our passion for learning and bettering ourselves, so we can become more advanced professionals and get ahead of the pack.

If you want to use the translation as “fuel”, then let’s fuel it up, rev our engines, get amped and get that checkered flag.

Here’s how:

1. Remember how you suffered through the GMAT/GRE, wrote personal statements, got letters of recommendation and fought to get into this program.  Then remember how proud of yourself you were when you did so.  Feels good, right?

2. Focus on all the great core classes we’re taking this quarter that are aiding us in choosing what we want to eventually specialize in

3. Don’t quit!  You’ve made it through a year and second years are telling me that even though it gets more intense, it gets better as the courses become more relevant, practical and less theory-based.

4. Keep in mind that you will have to account for a year-long gap in your employment history.  Even if you held a GA position, it will inevitably come up in an interview that you dropped out of grad school.  Employers will not be impressed.  If I were still a recruiter, I would write you off right then and there.

5. Think about all the money you’ll have spent (wasted) on textbooks, course packs, software and parking fees with nothing to show if you don’t finish.  Hurts, doesn’t it?

6. Go study in the sun!  Columbus has some amazing coffee shops where you can sit on their patios, enjoy a good coffee and get some work done

7. Blow off some steam at the EOTWs and with your friends.  The social chairs will be busier than ever with spring fever, and there will be plenty of opportunities to vent with your friends.

8. Get excited about your internship.  Know how all your working friends keep telling you how they wish they were in grad school?  Go walk in their shoes for a summer and appreciate again how fantastic our program is and how amazing the grad student life can be

9. Do some Bureau of Labor Statistics research and focus on your future earnings.  Your earnings post-graduate degree will be significantly higher for the same position than if you held it with an undergraduate degree

10. Picture the incoming class of first years and feed on the excitement and nervousness and sense of newness that they will inevitably be feeling.  Just like we felt.

11 . JIAYOU! We can do it.


1 Response to “Resisting First Year Burn Out”


  1. 1 Eric J Dosch April 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    great blog, wes. thank you for the reminder to jiayou.

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