For most of my adult life, I’ve been considered “the kid.” Whether it was as a manager leading older people or as a kayak instructor teaching students who were my parents’ age, I was always conspicuously young. And yet, here at HBS, at the sprightly young age of 30, I find that I have been relegated to play the role of the cranky old guy shaking his fist at the neighborhood kids. Fortunately I’m not alone. There are at least a handful of classmates who can wax nostalgically with me about pagers, life before the internet, and Depeche Mode. An even larger number of classmates share with me the experience of having a spouse on campus, which has both changed and enriched my time here at HBS.
So what’s so great about being old and married at college?
Well, to start, I know what I want to be when I grow up… since I’m already grown up. Without the luxury of time, I’ve made the choice to ignore transitory jobs such as consulting and just go out and do what I’m meant to do. I’m not looking for a job after school, but rather a career. Currently, all signs are pointing toward starting a business of my own immediately upon graduation. Another benefit of being old is that I have many years of experience to draw from for our daily case discussions. While my atrophied brain can’t handle adding two numbers together, I can ramble on for hours about what I did “back in the day.”
Even better than being old is being married. While my wife is now working full-time, I really enjoyed having lunch with her each day when she was still at home. I haven’t experienced any homesickness for the Midwest since home came with me. Also, I’m thrilled that I get to avoid trying to date at b-school. I’ve never been so busy in my life and I can’t imagine trying to juggle the ups and downs of a new relationship while going through all of this. My wife also keeps me grounded. Dropping the H-bomb has no effect on her and in her warm and funny way, she reminds me on a daily basis that I’m not that smart. Plus, as the person who encouraged me to go back to school, I owe her every minute of every day I spend here.
Yes, I’m now sore for days after playing tennis. Yes, I have to skip section events at times to spend time with my wife. Yes, traveling and going to any events cost double. And yes, I’m willing to be extorted by HRES to pay for a slightly larger closet… I mean apartment for us to live in, but it’s all worth it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.