Becoming Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

It’s been a while since I had my last first day of school (okay, fine – it’s been six years). I remember the feelings of anticipation and excitement, the somewhat discomforting feeling of not knowing what to expect, and the rush to prepare – everything from buying books to picking out the absolute best first-day-of-school outfit. Well, I am happy to report that the first day of grad school brings all of that and more. Classes started just over a week ago and while a week doesn’t sound like a long time, as my wonderful Finance professor explained to us yesterday, that’s actually 2% of our total MBA program (at least in terms of class time). With 2% of my MBA under my belt, I’m already feeling like I’m learning a lot every single day!

For starters, investing– not managing– my time has been key. Within the first week of class, we’ve already had two Marketing cases to analyze, as well as quizzes in Economics and Finance – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The number one thing that we were told during Pre-Term is that there is always going to be a lot going on and we need to be selective about how we spend our time. This message has proved very true; each day brings a new challenge in terms of making the best choices for what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

Which brings me to my next point: group projects have a whole new life in business school. My core team has been instrumental thus far in supporting me to complete all of my assignments and actually engage with all of the class material in the best way possible. Our group is diverse, as all core teams are, and this diversity helps us immensely when it comes to analyzing cases or solving problems. And, they’re pretty fun to do a scavenger hunt with, too!

My core team & I at Mirror Lake during our Pre-Term scavenger hunt!
My core team & me at Mirror Lake during our Pre-Term scavenger hunt!

Speaking of scavenger hunts, business school forces you to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Within the first few days of Pre-Term, I had already gone on a zipline, met 91 new people (my amazing classmates!) in the span of 24 hours, and then shared bits of my life story with my entire class. Each day brings something new that I likely didn’t encounter in my previous five years of work with Teach For America and while it’s still terrifying to be sitting in Marketing and having no idea how to respond to the question I’ve been asked, moments like those will certainly help me really take advantage of this experience.

I still have a lot of reading to do for class tomorrow and Mid-Terms are only a week and a half away, but for now, I’m still feeling that same anticipation and excitement as day one– only, now I know firsthand how amazing these next two years will be. And in the meantime, we have a football game this weekend to look forward to!

Author: Mireille Hartley

Philadelphia native in Columbus by way of Connecticut and Tennessee. Five years of experience in non-profit Human Resources and Operations with Teach For America. Pursuing roles in Consulting and Finance.