Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chasing Equilibrium…. Are we there yet?

During orientation week, Prof. Kaufold talked about balancing between career, school, and personal relationships. It’s not news to me. In fact, I read all about it in other Wharton blogs and heard all about it from the alums. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. And I’ve always been really good in time management. Or so I thought…

The first week of school was crazy! But good kind of crazy. We were fire hosed with massive amount of info, but I felt completely energetic being challenged intellectually and meeting all the great people in my class. I thought, now that boot camp week is behind us, I can finally get into a rhythm. Or so I thought…

Then we got to go home. Now career and home life also got thrown into the mix. And the next two weeks got even CRAZIER!!! Time flew by faster than I had ever experienced. I felt like I was constantly putting out fire. You know that game “Whack-a-Moe”? I love that game in the arcade. But now I’m playing it in real life. Things just keep popping up everywhere! Emergency at work, accelerated milestones, vendor issues, staffing plan change, review sessions, team telecons, case presentation, 3 hours daily commute, paper drafts, post-readings, pre-readings, and oh, a midterm.

Realization #1 – Slacking off is NOT an option! Every minute counts now. It really does. Being the geeky engineer that I am, I actually did a whole cost/benefit trade study on different commute options since I spend about 3 hours commuting to/from work everyday. I can really use every minute of the 3 hrs I waste in traffic everyday.

Realization #2 - Something’s gotta give! I told my boss that I would try my best to maintain zero impact to work due to school. I told my partner that I would try my best to keep a balance to maintain our relationship. And I promised myself that I would also do my best in school and stay on top of all my studying. Oh, and exercise… it’s completely out of window at the moment. And sleep? Ummm.. what is that? I quickly realized… I can’t have it all. I can still keep them all, just not at 100% at all times like I had hoped. Something’s gotta give.

Realization #3 – Equilibrium is a moving target! So I thought once I have my schedule figured out, I can get into a work/study/travel rhythm. Ummm… reality is, unanticipated events/issues kept happening and will probably continue to keep occurring for the next two years. Sometimes you just can’t plan for everything. By trying to live a 30+ hrs life in a 24 hrs day? Well, I will have to keep changing my rhythm to adapt to each day. The infamous elusive equilibrium point!

Frustrations became acceptance once I realized these points. It’s ok to grab a quick yogurt with my partner instead of a full sushi dinner. It’s ok to redefine quality time. It’s ok to trade planned study time to put out fires at work. It’s ok to skip a hockey or biking session to catch up on studying. It’s ok to put off blogging for a while. It’s ok to ask for understandings and not try to be everywhere. It’s well… simply okay. It’s ok to not beat myself up for not having a perfect plan. May not be my original plan, but somehow, all the fires were put out and everything still got done. Well, except the sushi dinner. LOL.

Now that our first midterm is done, I can finally relax for just a minute to catch up on blogging to tell you guys that it’s ok, don’t beat yourself up, and everything will be ok.

Welcome to Wharton, and we’ll be chasing equilibrium together for the next two years!

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