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The Better Half

Imagine a fresh-smelling kitchen, including a sink without any dirty dishes. Imagine no lines to use the machines at Shad. Imagine unlimited and undisturbed access to the Internet.

A fantasy world? Not quite – it was Spring Break for many partners, including myself.

There were a special few of us bestowed with the privilege of accompanying our student partners to places such as Europe, Central America and South Africa. However, many of us toiled away at jobs and watched snow fall on the first day of spring while the HBS community (including our partners) reveled in warmer places.

And if we were fortunate, we received an email with just the right amount of details left out to prevent us from jealousy:

“The plane ride was fine. When we landed, the weather was so gorgeous that I walked around in a T-shirt all afternoon. The ocean is amazing! And the nightlife … wow! I didn’t get to bed until 4 a.m., mostly because I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain and the food here stinks compared to your cooking. Miss you lots!”

Ahhh … to go back to graduate school when vacations were plenty and real life worries few and far between. Let me think back … what was my spring break like … hmmm … oh yes … WAIT! I remember my spring breaks in grad school: spending afternoons in Central Park, meeting friends for lunch in midtown, catching up on some fun reading and, maybe, taking a weekend trip somewhere. Few of us Education majors had the money to take off on overseas extravaganzas. Many of us had families or part-time jobs, and no hope of a lucrative career after graduation. But we didn’t mind. After all, we were learning how to enrich young minds, which was thrilling enough in itself.

During grad school, spring break was a time for me to get back to all those little things at home that had been pushed to the side by a stack of theoretical books. But at HBS, spring break seems to be more about how far, how exciting, and how adventurous it can be.

Many “foreigners” to HBS life don’t understand when I talk about $100 tickets to balls, ski houses, and spring break trips. Is he working while in school? No. Is his company paying for tuition? No. Is he insane? No, he’s a student at HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL. (I almost say it as if it’s enough of an explanation.)

Then again, perhaps HBS is the real spring break. And when you’re already on vacation, home–with dishes to wash and a computer to share-is the last place you want to be.

April 1, 2002
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