It?s easy to get caught up in the heavy workload of first semester. It?s tempting to become totally distracted by things like midterms or group projects. But I seem to remember a certain PowerPoint presentation delivered during Orientation Week in Burden that instructed us all to keep some balance in our lives. Remember?
Well, last weekend I really took that message to heart. During Foundations, I won a trip to Cape Cod in my Economics of Markets class. In so doing, I not only learned about supply and demand, but I learned about one of the advantages of HBS: trips!
Chatham was wonderful. About thirty HBS?ers and partners headed up to the Cape for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation. Personally, I spent my time playing tennis on seaside courts, wandering through the quaint town of Chatham, using our hotel discount coupon for such luxuries as hot chocolate and schnapps, and having a small dinner with close friends at a charming restaurant near the hotel. Others went horseback riding, running, and walking along the beach. All of us congregated for a nice continental breakfast Sunday morning (elated by the extra hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings), told funny stories, learned about our past lives, and met each other?s significant others. How civilized.
The weekend away really drove home a very important point that I had forgotten in my crazed academic life. HBS is just not all there is to life. Obvious, you say? Well, sometimes it?s easy to forget that this small piece of land here across the river is really just a microcosm of reality. In the real world, important things are going on. The Yankees are in the World Series. Anthrax scares abound. Jodie Foster had a baby. (Well, some are important.)
I made a conscious decision to stop my treasured subscription to the New York Times when I came here. I wouldn?t have time to read the paper, I thought. If it?s really important, I?ll hear about. I recently stopped watching the news to prevent myself from getting too scared about world events to do my work. I?ve even reduced my trips back home to immerse myself in HBS life. But has it been worth it?
HBS is great and I?m learning even more than I expected to. But from now on, I?m keeping more of a “worldly” perspective. We?re only here for two years. We can?t afford to plow through them without glancing around us from time to time. We can?t block out friends, family, news, fun and entertainment at the expense of our workload. We just wouldn?t make it.
The trip to Chatham showed me that balance here is absolutely critical. In its own way, HBS was trying to teach me that lesson by sending me off to the Cape under the guise of an Economics lesson. So I?ll listen. I?ll take advantage of my time here, but learn to prioritize work and play. If that has been the point of overloading us with work recently, then point taken. If I have to suffer through another midterm to acquire a sense of equilibrium, so be it. Perhaps I?ll be better off in the long-term. In the short-term, however, I plan on renewing my Times subscription, getting out a little more often, and appreciating the wonderful people in my life. Sometimes, FRC and TOM just have to wait.