Perception vs Reality

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(Picture day @ HBS!)

A persistent theme has arisen over the past week: in our case protagonists, simulations, and our own interactions with one another. Now that we’ve been in this mode for 4 weeks, I’ve been starting to perceive some patterns that might not necessarily be a reflection of reality.

For starters, I’m perceiving that everyone has endless energy all the time. I’m amazed by how social and engaged people are, and how they always seem to be “on”. Furthermore, everyone makes it look effortless. It’s remarkable how there’s always something going on (parties, get togethers, study groups, etc), and there seem to be a critical mass of people doing it. In my mind, I’m sure everyone also has time for all of their extra-curricular obligations – friends, family, responding to emails, reading, etc.

In addition, I perceive that everyone seems to understand the rhythm of this place flawlessly. People seem to be in a routine and have found their groove: juggling relationships, making instant new best friends, handling the case load with ease. I feel like I’m in the process of getting the lay of the land – it still takes me time to figure out where I’m going on campus or navigating the cafeteria at lunchtime. I can’t seem to find time on my calendar to do all of the activities I want to participate in, or spend time with all of the people I’d like to see. Everyone appears to be dealing with the “FOMO” pretty effectively.

The reality, I’m sure, is that everyone feels this way about everyone else. It’s easy to make things look effortless when you’re confident, but we’re all still adjusting socially, academically and even professionally. As we add more to our plate – last week it was clubs and retreats, this week it’s career and professional development – it makes the juggling act a lot more stressful. I’m impressed watching my classmates do this balancing act.

Personally, I’m trying to get my work done, stay organized, and really get to know the great people in a more 1:1 fashion. Now that the clubs have begun, it’s time to decide which of the many we’ll want to be involved with, and how to balance that with coursework. I’m also learning by example, and I’m fairly certain that soon the perception will become the reality.

Other tidbits: we had some fun section visitors this week – including case protagonists, significant others and prospective students. I’d be very curious to know what their perceptions were of our dynamic, which seems to be coming together quickly!

Theme of the weekend: beach, quiz review.

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Perception vs Reality

All I do is school

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A few quick reflections on the last 2 weeks, which have been the slowest, most drawn out 10 days and simultaneously whizzed past. I think the theme of the week was summed up best by Libby: “All I do is school”

It’s impressive how quickly the 90 person section comes together. HBS talks nonstop about how instrumental the section experience is to the degree, but it’s hard to describe unless you’re actually in it. Imagine you have 90 work colleagues and you do everything together at all times. I’ve never been bound to this many people at once, but it feels as though I’ve known these people for a lot longer than 3 weeks (in fairness, I’ve known some of them since childhood). I’m already learning more from them and their perspectives than I could have hoped.

One of the best parts of the section experience is that now that we have a baseline understanding of one another (for the most part), we have an opportunity to break out into smaller groups. We had the ability to do this both in an academic setting – storytelling/public speaking practice – and in a small group social setting.

The most intense part of these first two full academic weeks has been the ramp up of the course work coupled with the introduction of clubs and the constant social activities. The triple threat of these things means you can’t do everything at once, so as the cliche goes, time management is everything. We have at least 2 cases to read and analyze every day, time for conversation with smaller groups, plus time for practical learning (FIELD). The practical elements of this course make me reflect on how lucky I was to have experienced many of these things in my own professional life, but I’m grateful to have the opportunity to reflect and learn how to do these things better.

A big highlight was the section handoff, in which the members of “Old F” (last year’s Section F) came and passed along their traditions and their advice. It’s exhilarating to be part of such a deeply rooted (f)amily, and I’m excited to get to know the ECs better.

The clubs piece to me is the most unnatural: in the “real world” we find like-minded individuals in many different ways. Shy of Meetups, there isn’t really an analogous concept. In my limited understanding, it feels like these are going to be the best mechanism to meet other people who share my interests (tech, entrepreneurship, etc) who are outside of my section or current network. The resources seem to be vast.

The thing I haven’t figured out is how to maintain my regular activities while I’m still in school. It’s been very difficult to juggle all of the current academic-related tasks with the tech functions I’d like to attend and the people in this industry in Boston I’d like to meet. I will begin working more on this next week.

Theme of the weekend: rest, and maybe some Netflix and chill.

All I do is school