Semester 2 – check!

Guess what? Yep, semester 2 has flown by and I am now officially done with the core courses. Actually, to be honest, I finished about a week and a half ago. The time in between has been hectic.

So, what was last semester like? Well, in terms of classes it was okay. We had operations, strategy, leveraging IT, and the last bit of leading people & organizations. In terms of workload, I’d say that this semester seemed much more doable – probably since it was much less quantitative. In all honesty, I felt like I really hit my stride this semester. I felt comfortable from the beginning with the subject matters and felt like I was really learning (with the exception of strategy maybe – but that’s another matter).

When it came time for the finals, I felt super confident. I had my little study notes made up (not little by any means haha) and I felt very confident in knowing the frameworks for  both strategy and operations. That’s not to say that the final exam didn’t rip me a new one, but at least going into finals I felt a lot better than the first semester.

In terms of relationships…. well, I’m not sure. I think the downward spiral of people thinking I’m clutzy has worsened to the point that people think I’m a spaz. I think I’m becoming too comfortable with a lot of people and I’ve swung a little too far. Sometimes, I hear myself being the loudest and most obnoxious person in the room; that isn’t me. I mean, I am loud, but I’m not normally obnoxious. Or am I?

I’m starting to see a lot of traits come out that I’m not comfortable with. Perhaps the most upsetting is that I’m finding myself to be very judgmental about others. More than anything, I’ve noticed that this MBA environment is like high school in hyper drive. All the emotions we felt as teenagers are just exaggerated here. The drama is the same, only worse because the people involved are supposed to be adults… but here we are, given carte blanche to act crazy.

In some ways though, its freeing. It takes away a lot of the ‘power’ other people have held over me for the past 6 years. What I mean is that I’ve always felt that I wasn’t the ‘same’ as other professionals. I didn’t feel as professional. I honestly didn’t feel like I was on the same level as they were. But being around such impressive individuals and watching them act like complete idiots when they’re not ‘at work’ is amazing. These are just everyday people who happen to be very very capable in their work. Why can’t this be me? Why not me?

I try to keep this new learning in mind as I meet with potential employers and apply to new jobs. Ultimately, these recruiters are also people with their own flaws. I bet that guy interviewing me sings show tunes when he’s drunk. And that girl probably enjoys making disgusting jokes (wait… that’s just me).

This month has also been pretty intense emotionally. I’ve snapped a few times. Cried a few times more. And gotten drunk by myself a couple of times too. It’s been rough.

With us currently in the throes of fall recruiting, everyone is feeling stressed and down…. and for some reason its making me feel the same, even though I don’t have a dog in the race. I’m not sure why I feel antsy and grouchy… but it’s been notable. Everyone around me knows that I’m just a huge mess…. doesn’t reflect well on me. I always have to think about that now.

I also applied for a position during fall recruiting that I was really hoping to get at first. As time passed though, I realized that accepting it would mean a total change in my life and I’m not sure if I’m ready for such a big commitment yet. What totally stresses me out is that I have to actually confront what I want for myself in the future and make some decisions. I can’t just run away or keep my eyes down as I move forward. I actually have to make real plans towards my future. I hate doing that.

Anyways, I’m going to wrap this up. I feel myself rambling. I know that I need to practice writing if I ever want to make side money as a highly successful anonymous writer, but I just can’t do it right now. My brain feels like it is running on fumes and I am barely able to think.

Okay, until next time!

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Semester 1 – Check.

So, it’s been a hot second since my last update. Just kidding, it’s been a full fucking semester and who am I now?

I’ll save you the suspense and just launch into it. In the past 5-ish months, I’ve become the freaking school cheerleader and mascot. That’s who. Wassup.

I’m half serious and half joking. The truth is that I think I have a fairly decent reputation in the class as a decent person. I know most people in the program, and have had at least one conversation with 99% of the class. I think most people think I’m friendly and nice, which is great. Unfortunately, I think I’m developing a reputation for being  a bit of a ditz/clutz, at least outside of the classroom and outside of my learning teams. I think amongst my learning team members, people consider me at least on par with themselves. I do my work and what I do is usually done thoroughly and well. I’m not a subject matter in really anything, but I’m decent at most subjects – with maybe the exception of finance. Even then though, I’m not doing badly.

How are things going at this point? Well, I’m learning. That’s the most important thing, right? I’m learning about finance, accounting (not really though), economics, and marketing. Oh, and a whole host of soft-skills. I’d never guess this twist though: I’m better at the technical stuff than I am at the soft-skills. I’ve been blowing every presentation and practice interview. I’m awful at behavioural interviews now – wow.

Surprisingly, I’m not actually struggling too much with the school component of the program, BUT I’m struggling the most with the other stuff that is arguably more important. For example, I’m having difficulties networking with professionals. Maybe part of that is that I haven’t had the time (nor the emotional ability) to sit down and really decide what I want out of my future. Everyone else seems to either have decided to do consulting or finance, which actually makes the process a lot easier. For me, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do consulting due to the lifestyle, and I’m 100% not interested in finance b/c it’s finance.

Anyways, that leaves me with a bunch of opportunities, but as you know… I don’t really like options. I like being told that I need to do something and then devoting all my effort into doing that thing well and to the best of my ability. When given too much free reign to decide myself, I don’t know what to do.

I understand that a goal of the program is to develop leaders that have the ability to make decisions, despite a lack of information… but I still suck at this. So far, I’m thinking maybe human capital consulting, but realistically I’m looking at what they call “just-in-time” work – CPG, healthcare, etc. I need to really narrow down what careers, specifically, I want to pursue in this area though. I can’t just apply to all positions, or at least that’s what the career managers tell me. I’m not sure what to do at this point, b/c not a hell of a lot of information is provided for me. I’m not sure what type of jobs I’d do well in, nor what type of fields I’d like to work in. UGH. And apparently I need to find this out yesterday. Yay.

Besides that though, things are going decently well. I’m a little surprised that I’ve weathered most of the storm, being hit only a couple of times by some big waves. I’m doing decently well in the program (I’d say I’m a solid average – and so would some other people, but let’s not get into gossip right now).

Now I’m supposed to take a week long break before we launch into semester 2, but already we’ve been given an assignment to read a novel and create some sort of production to discuss a question posed by the book. Yippeeee…

Anyways, I’ll let you know how the next semester goes in a few months.

– L

First official week. DONE.

*phew*

I haven’t written in a little while and I apologize for that.  At the start, I told myself that I should document my journey through the MBA – for myself and for others (potentially). I liked the idea of being able to look back and read my mental growth. Based on what everyone else has told me (the current MBA students), everyone starts off feeling uncertain about themselves and their abilities, but eventually they grow into it. I’m hoping that truly is the case, b/c I’m sure feeling uncertain about everything.

It’s officially been a week since the program started. I’ve been here for about 3 weeks now (I took the preparatory knowledge course in econ, accounting, and quantitative analysis) and every day my opinion of the program (and of myself) changes.

Some days I’m feeling on top of the world. No one can bring me down or tell me that I don’t belong here. Hell, I am fierce and I am a leader. Even if I don’t know the econ stuff or the accounting stuff, I’ve got something you can’t teach in a classroom – I’ve got leadership abilities.

Other days, I feel like an impostor. I sit in my seat (at the front row, no less) and I desperately try to catch the wave that everyone else seems to be surfing on. Instead, I feel like I am failing constantly and getting a face full of seawater.

To be honest, I guess this is expected. Everyone has told me that the entire process is like a roller coaster. What do you do when you’re strapped into the coaster? I guess hold on and try your best to enjoy it… or at least survive it so that you can look back on it and laugh at yourself.

At the moment, I’m still struggling to make friends and get to know people. Oddly enough, this is the biggest piece that follows me around all day. I feel lonely and it takes my attention away from feeling unprepared or like a failure… It’s oddly comforting, I guess.

If I had to liken the experience to anything, it’s like being in kindergarten on the first day and hoping that you get to find at least one person that will be your friend. I want to say that I’ve had the chance to make friends, but I’m not entirely sure. Making friends and being sociable as an adult is a lot more difficult… It’s a whole new ballpark.

I don’t know what it is with me that makes me feel like I NEED to have people like me. But I do. I need people to like me, and when they don’t… it bums me out like nothing else (not even ECON bums me out as hard!).

In particular, I have a working group that I am TRYING to break down. I’m trying to get everyone to be friendly with each other and open up, because these are the people I’m going to be spending every single day with for the next 9 weeks. I’m going to have to trust them and get them to trust me. So far, it’s taken some time (a week haha), but I’ve gotten almost everyone sort of bought in. I’ve got one hold out and … I don’t know.

James tells me all the time that it’s not important. As long as you can trust him to an extent (like trust him to do his part), that’s all you need. But it hurts, in a weird way. It hurts that I can’t get along with him on a personal level, especially since we apparently have a lot in common.

I think the issue is that I made up my mind about him early on and I was flat out wrong. I wish I could address it with him directly, but if I’m wrong and he has no idea that I’ve made this wrong impression, it’ll just give him more reason to dislike me. It bothers me that the guy can cut lose with other people and then just shuts me out. I’m trying so hard to be everyone’s friend and I think he thinks it’s disingenuous, but it’s not. I just really want people to like me.

I think my best bet is to hang back and give him time to chill. Maybe come off a little less spastic. Fuck, being an adult and making friends is fucking hard as fuck.

  • L

First Day

First days are the same across all continents, times, and ages. Truly.

I spent my first day trying to find friends, figuring out where to sit, and feeling awkward about what I wore to class that day. I felt like I was a kid back in kindergarten again and it was… strange.

Honestly, I’ve been blessed in life that I haven’t had to experience this in close to 15 years. I was blessed enough to go to university with my friend group from high school intact and I stayed with them for the following 4 years.

I’ve noticed that in my adult life, I’ve struggled to feel like I fit in. I often feel like I didn’t get the memo for how to dress, how to act, or what to say. Maybe along the route to adulthood I forgot to grab a pamphlet on learning to remove my foot from my mouth.

You know, everyone always says, “you are what you think you are,” or something just as equally motivating. Except it isn’t. At least not for me.

I’m not cool. I know that. I don’t want to be (or do I, secretly?), but the problem isn’t that. It’s when people tell me to ‘just act cool and you will be’. Bitch, no… because I obviously don’t even know how to act cool otherwise I’d actually be cool.

So, that aside, I should actually talk about classes and the whole educational experience.

Well shit. My first day was … shit. Started off okay, but quickly spiraled after lunch. First PKP class was Quantitative Analysis and it whooped my hiney. At the start things made sense and then we very quickly moved into regression models and I was lost like a guppy in an ocean.

– L

Decided.

Well, title is pretty clear. In mid November, I decided on what school to attend. At the time of my last post, I hadn’t quite figured out what I wanted to do with schools and I can’t remember if I had all my interviews yet.

Well, I know I got an early offer on my birthday from York pretty much immediately after I interviewed with them. A few days later, I got an email telling me I had also qualified for a 40k scholarship as well. York seemed genuinely interested in having me at their school and were bending over backwards to have me. It seemed like a straight forward decision.

That being said, I still went ahead and did my interviews with Western and Queens. Western’s interview went well. I spoke to a career advisor and had a friendly chat. The tone of the conversation was professional, but definitely friendly. She asked me what I wanted out my degree and emphasized that her goal in the interview was to determine if both I and the school were a good fit for each other.

Queens on the other hand… They were just so stuck up and snobby. Their main interest was clearly what I could offer THEM. They’d ask me questions like, “what do you think your strengths are,” and I’d answer, “well, I think…” and the interviewer cut me off. He said I wasn’t being confident enough and I shouldn’t start with “I think”. You know, you did ask me what I think…

Anyways, they said that I was unprofessional during the interview because I also forgot this woman’s name that I had met once briefly about 3 months earlier. Her name was like Sofie or Sophia, which is what I said. Still though, they were pretty persistent and wanted to ‘give me another chance’ to interview again. I told the coordinator that honestly, I was pretty much decided on York anyways and that I needed to get back to them with a decision by the end of the week, so I didn’t have the time to interview again. I also mentioned that they offered me a scholarship and unless Queen’s was able to do the same, I didn’t think it would be worthwhile.

The whole attitude of the school really ticked me off. Even on their websites and their emails, it just screams elitism. Like, you’re somehow better than other people because you managed to convince someone at Queen’s that you were worthy of their time. Well, fuck that. Seriously. I’m tired of being judged and not being appreciated for what I can actually contribute to the conversation.

So, in the end, Western did get back to me before York’s acceptance deadline and they even offered me a scholarship of 30k. Unfortunately, Western’s tuition is much higher than York’s and their scholarship smaller, but ultimately it is a better school I think. It’s got a better reputation in Canada, its got the college town experience I want, and it is a one year program. I did have to tell Jess, Jenn & Sam that I wouldn’t be able to go to Toronto anymore. Jess was pretty hyped about the prospect of me going to Toronto, but she’s okay with me in London too. As she says, “it’s only 2 hours away!”

Anyways, so … decision is made! I’m going to be moving to London and attending Western (Ivey) from February until next March. I’m a little excited, but mostly nervous. Kind of scared that I won’t be able to keep up, to be honest. I’m hoping that there will be something that I excel in and that I’ll get along with my classmates. I’m scared of being alone, to be honest.

I haven’t totally figured out my living situation yet. I have a tentative agreement, but the building management is taking their sweet time to draft up a new lease agreement. Nice thing is that the place comes furnished.

I’ll update when I have an update. I hope I can keep up this blog during the school year. I think it’ll be interesting to document my mental state and progression over the year. It’s going to be (hopefully) a big year of changes.

  • L

Going away on a jet plane (or in a car)

So, as it turns out a lot as changed since July, as usual. I did eventually get off my ass and start studying for the GMAT. James took me to Vancouver with him while he went on a work trip and I started studying in the hotel. I spent a good 2.5 months studying every single day, taking practice tests, and just overall stressing about the test.

Around the beginning of September, I finally committed to booking the test and booked for the end of September. September 28th, to be specific.

I’m not going to say that I studied hard or was focused every single day, but I think I did work hard overall. I was dedicated to it. I wrote down every question I got wrong on the practice tests and went over them to figure out where I went wrong. I took it seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.

Well, soon it was the day before the exam. I took the morning to go over some of the verbal concepts quickly before heading out in the afternoon to pick up some granola bars for the day of and checking out the testing center. Then I sat myself in front of the computer and watched a movie. Or two. Eh.

The day of, I booked an afternoon test, so I stayed home and watched more Bojack Horseman until lunch. We had noodles, then I immediately felt ill. I had to run to the bathroom maybe 2 or 3 times, even after I arrived at the testing center. I guess the nerves got to me.

When I sat it and wrote it, it went decently well. I powered through the Integrated Analysis section pretty quickly. There were a few questions on there that I wasn’t sure if I got correct, but I took the advice of previous testers and skipped 2 questions to give myself enough time to really focus on the other questions.

Then I had my essay. It was a more difficult topic than I had anticipated (most of the practice exam questions were very straight forward), but I think I pumped out a good essay with good supports and strong vocabulary. Also, it was decently long.

After that, I took a break and felt confident. Next section was Quant, and I needed all my confidence to face that. Well, sitting through it, I immediately felt stressed. I felt like the questions were either extremely easy or that I had absolutely no inkling on how to answer them. There were almost ZERO rate questions (which I had focused my last months’ studying on) and mostly number property questions, which I hate. Even though I felt stressed, I managed my time fine and didn’t run out (like I had been doing all week before).

The quant. section shook me going into Verbal, so I took the break to grab some water and try to settle my nerves. When I sat it, I hardly paid attention to the questions. I think I started to feel the mental fatigue and I was operating on automatic.

When I finished, I was given the option to view the final mark. I figured, why not… I did allow myself enough time to take another exam in 2 weeks time if needed. Well, shit… When I saw the final mark I said out loud, “What!”… good thing I didn’t disrupt anyone else in the testing center (everyone had left by then).

I got a 690!!! That’s a pretty incredible score, especially considering that my Verbal put me in the 93rd percentile! Quant was at a dismal 48 percentile, but hey, I didn’t care because I scored the highest overall mark for the quant. that I had ever scored (41).

Anyways, immediately after my GMAT exam, my friend from Quebec and her husband came into town, so I spent the first two weeks of October hanging out with them before finally getting down to applications. I’ve been working on them since then.

Well, sorta. This past week, I’ve been finishing up final touches on things and had an interview with York (Schulich Business School). 2 hours after the interview, they sent me an email saying that they’d like to offer me admission to the MBA program to start in January. EEPS!

Over the weekend, I’ve been a bundle of nerves and stress because it’s starting to get real. This vague vision of doing my MBA is starting to crystallize and it’s becoming more and more likely that the path will take me away from Home. For some reason, I’ve been totally unprepared for that.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave Home or J. I don’t know if I want to go to Toronto anymore… even if it means giving up an opportunity to study at a top school. He thinks I should go, because it’s a good opportunity, but at the same time he thinks I should stay if it’s causing me so much stress planning the move to Toronto in less than 2 months.

At the moment, I’m still undecided. I just confirmed another interview with Western (Ivey Business School), so if that goes well I may have a new offer on the table as well. Western has it’s pluses; it’s a one year program, it’s another top school, and the program starts in March instead of January. With York though, it’s hard to give up the comfort of being in a city that I’m at least sort of familiar with, surrounded by high school friends, and in a rent-free apartment (from my parents). But, that being said, it’s a 2 year (16-20 month) program… it’s longer for sure. And it’s more expensive than staying at home.

Staying at home means I can do the program part-time, work the full-time, save A LOT more money, be with Jimmy, be with friends, and not make any big changes. But, it’s hard for me to give up the opportunity to go to a top school…. But it’s also hard for me to give up J for a full year. And the plans to have a house together. And totally demolishing my life’s savings.

*sigh*. Life is hard sometimes.

 

My cat is gone today

I don’t know what to say.

Last night I stayed over at J’s house and today, when I got back at 8 am, my mom was in a tizzy because the cat had thrown up, pooped, and was not able to walk. He seemed lethargic and like he was in pain.

We ended up taking him to an emergency vet hospital, where they said he was likely suffering from acute renal trauma. Rascal as always had kidney problems, diabetes and a heart murmur, so it wasn’t really surprising.

After discussing with my parents for about 3 hours, we decided that any further treatment would just end up putting Rascal through more pain and even then, the doctor’s weren’t sure that he’d make it through the night nor that he’d even be back to where he was prior to the incident.

We got a few minutes to say goodbye and I wanted so badly to change my mind or take it back. He was swaddled in a blanket and not moving much, but his eyes were open and I think he recognized us. I hope he did. When mom got up to throw something out, Rascal peeked is head over to see her. I tried to calm him down, but he wasn’t purring. He didn’t look like he was ready to go, just tired. He never would have let me hold him like that though if he wasn’t in a lot of pain/exhausted.

I held him in my arms as it happened. It was awful… he looked tired and then he looked scared when the doctor injected the first medication to sleep.

I’m really going to miss him. I don’t want to forget what type of cat he was. He was an absolutely fantastic pet. He never bit (unless he was just fed up with you), never scratched furniture, was as bright as a bulb and was just … the best pet you could ask for. He learned tricks and caught on to things so quickly (like that one time he peed in the shower when my dad forgot to bring the litter box back in).

I’m going to miss catching him snoozing all over the house, or letting him out in the backyard. I’m going to miss snuggling with him, even though he hated it. I’m going to miss tossing him over my shoulder, like only I could. Or giving him neck massages until he purred. I also never want to forget how much of a pig he was … but also how much of a little warrior he was. He was still catching voles up until today.

I don’t know what to do with myself now that I know we’ll never find him curled up in a ball at the bottom of the stairs. I’m going to miss being able to scratch his nose or watch him sleep. Just yesterday he was sleeping on the kitchen chairs while I was baking. He looked so peaceful and I remember thinking, “this is nice… I could get used to life at this speed”. I never thought he was going to pass away… I always thought and planned to take him with J and I when we moved out. I even figured that if we got a new kitten, Rascal would have to learn to get along with it.

A few years ago when he was dealing with bloody urine, I remember talking to him and asking him to tell me before it was his time. To let me know… he didn’t. This came suddenly out of the blue for me… though maybe I wasn’t listening or watching hard enough. I’m sorry for that. I feel like I’ve failed him. Maybe if we caught it earlier this or last week he’d be okay. Or maybe we’d just be prolonging the inevitable.

I really hope Rascal knew how much we loved him and I hope that he was okay when he went. I know he must have been scared, but I hope that at least he was comfortable..

I thought this post would be so much longer. That there would be more to say or more to reminisce over. Maybe I’m too sad to write it all, but I want to so I don’t forget how special he was. I don’t think I’ll ever find another cat as cute, warm, smart, clever, annoying, hungry or as much of a family member as Rascal. Even mom said that we will never find as good  of a cat as Rascal. He was so good… So smart and such a unique personality.

What am I going to do without him?