B-school life is full of times to hold on or to let go. Lately it seems I continually face the decision to hone my tenacity or choose the way of Lao Tsu and “go with the flow”. Insider hint: the Tao of Eve needs some major work.
I’m really not one to make new year’s resolutions because I can never seem to stick with them. When I fail, it becomes one more thing to gnaw on my conscience. This year, however, things are different. During break, I realized it is really important for me to let things go and I resolved to make a concerted effort to do so during 2011 (and beyond). A few things prompted my decision:
(1) Grades: One thing you’ll hear time and time again in b-school is that grades don’t matter. As a first-year, I’ve heard this from various people across disciplines and departments. I suppose old habits die hard because I waited with great anticipation for my grades to be posted online. All in all, I did alright and was pretty happy with my results. But there’s always that one class… in my case, it was Organizational Behavior. I missed the next letter grade by one point and wasn’t one of the students that was moved up based upon class participation. “Disappointed” is a fair way to describe my feelings on the situation. What to do? Let it go and move forward. I’m not happy about it but there’s not much I can do to change it at this point. I could dwell on it and let it affect me or release it and focus on the next term. I choose to focus on the future. And, although I realize that grades do matter to me (at least somewhat), I also know that I want to take full advantage of the other opportunities & activities available in the full-time MBA program.
(2) Clutter: If there’s any advice I can give you that will prove helpful, it’s PURGE NOW especially if you’re moving to Columbus from somewhere else. Downsizing is extremely important to do in advance; you really don’t want to move everything and then realize it doesn’t fit. In my case, I was faced with the closet storage reality over break. I finally had time to fully switch my wardrobe from warm weather to cold weather. I ended up with several bags of trash and six piles of clothes that need to be donated to Goodwill. Some mementos are worth keeping but all the stuff you have set aside “just in case” should be dumped before you get here. You won’t have the time to do it when classes begin and you’ll feel so free by ridding yourself of the excess baggage. Let it go and make room for good things to come into your life.
(3) Rejection: Recruiting season is heading into full swing and I can honestly say I have already gotten my share of rejection. I *really* don’t need any more. Realistically, it could be a lot worse. The good news is that I have a few angles that may pan out. The ones that didn’t work out really didn’t suit me anyway. My advice to you is: do your homework and decide what matters most and what you really want. Have the conversation with your Career Management counselor and make sure your goals are realistic. If you have a specific target, you can focus all your energy toward that goal. If you’re anything like me and are unsure, or are switching careers, you might need to spend extra energy and take a path less traveled. I believe we all want to be wanted and it is normal to feel validated by a potential employer wanting to speak with us. But when your request for interview is rejected, it doesn’t invalidate you. In my case, each “no” pushes me closer to a “yes” and the path I trod is not the most worn. Fisher provides many resources for us to use to build our networks. Finding the ideal career fit may involve on campus recruiting but it may not. Some of us choose a path less common. At Fisher, faculty, staff, and alumni are very willing to help each one of us discover our way. They really see us as individuals. Personally, I’m letting go of the “no”s and holding on to the perfect fit being out there. It just takes some of us longer to find it.
This quarter proves to be getting better by the minute. To gain momentum and keep the right pace, I resolve to hold on to what’s truly important and let go of the things that can slow me down.
The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic. – Ralph Waldo Emerson