You know that feeling you get when you’re faced with an overwhelming, impossible task that seems to consume every conscious moment, either with productive or anxious thought on the subject, and you have a sneaking suspicion that the people who arranged it just like to watch you squirm? Now just imagine that it lasts three months and that you’re paying huge sums of money for it: you’re one step closer to experiencing first-year, winter quarter at Rady. I’d also like to acknowledge up front that this post is as much an apology for slacking on the blog front as I it is an attempt to explain the hell-quarter phenomenon to interested parties.

I’m sure all B-Schools have this too-heavy quarter built-in as some kind of perverse tradition. We have four difficult courses with essential content, including the only two classes I came anywhere close to failing in undergrad: Operations and Finance. You’d think that previous exposure would be some kind of advantage, but we’d covered everything I “learned” in undergrad finance by week 2. After mid-terms, not a week passed without at least 2 cases, a pile of reading, and one impressively time-consuming Operations assignment. Finals week, although it has been rough thus far, has been the least stressful week in recent memory.

This quarter has served to remind me to thank God for the good sense to quit my job during preterm, forced me to participate in study group delegation (which is quite a relief, once you get used to it,) and provided me with anecdotal evidence that B-School does, in fact, consist of more than kissing up to potential employers and learning to like red wine.

And I should note that I have learned a ton this quarter. My favorite lesson is the one that acknowledges the value of blocking out an evening to ignore the pressing homework, case write-ups, presentations, and even Littlefield to regain sanity and learn about how classmates behave under stress and/or the influence of alcohol. This has not only been the quarter of heated case discussions, Littlefield espionage, and driving home to the morning news, but also of barbeques, happy hours, french food, and dancing to old school hip hop at dive bars. Somehow, the hands-down most stressful term of my too-long academic career has also been the most fun.

There were certainly weeks during which I wondered whether, had I fully understand the workload this quarter, I would have enrolled, but I can see now that that isn’t the end of the story. My penchant for short-sightedness that I was cursing at those moments prevented me from seeing the socialization benefits of an academically frustrating, emotionally exhausting and otherwise downright grueling quarter. Yes, I did just bust out HRM content in my blog. And yes, I thought the Kool-aid was delicious, thanks for asking.

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