For the first time in my adult life, I went on a spinning rollercoaster today and it describes how the past 3 months have been! An absolute rollercoaster! *Insert I’ve still got joy in Chaos song*. To be honest, I am still struggling to find the right word — it’s somewhere between a roller coaster and a whirlwind!
I’ve been immersing myself in academics (again), forging meaningful connections, actively recruiting for a solid internship, and even stepping into leadership roles! 2Ys (second-year students) have a way of describing this first phase of the MBA experience as drinking from a firehose and trust me, it was all of that and more!
Mod 1 (i.e the first quarter of year one) is over and in my usual fashion, I thought to write about it to serve as a reminder for me in the future when I need to relieve the experiences, in addition to that, I hope this serves as a way of passing the torch of knowledge and valuable experiences I have received from the amazing people that guided me to this point.
Starting with the high tides;
- I have been marvelously helped by God and the gift of men! — Firstly, if anyone told me I would survive in a new city/country for 3 months without working (i.e. earn money!), I would not have believed it! I am quite a planner, but my transition to this country was completely not in my control and I learned to TRUST that everything will be fine and truly, it is going fine so far! My family & friends have been super supportive with kind words of encouragement, prayers, random cash gifts, and groceries. I know faithful is He who brought me this far, He did not bring me this far to leave me alone. (I have a lot of striking moments of gratitude but can't type them all here!)
- The beauty of community — The Lord truly sets the solitary in families. I already have seeming family figures here by virtue of my communities. Firstly, I plugged in immediately to a community of faith (church from home and new church here). I did not want to take the chance to just stream services online. Aside from a spiritual community, I connected quickly to the African community, recruitment & diversity-focused communities to find meaningful connections. Let me take a moment to shout out to my family & close friends who have kept in touch consistently, yo!!! You all are the real MVPs!
Speaking of church, the style of worship here is entirely different!!! however, the elements are the same! This community of faith has not just held me spiritually, but also comforted my soul.
3. Accessibility is a privilege I enjoy here due to my program and my school’s reputation. I can easily connect with individuals and brands that appeared so big to me when I was back home. It’s incredible to reach out to school alumni or anyone tbh, who is accomplishing remarkable things globally and they generously offer their time and resources because of our shared brand affiliation.
4. Enjoyable moments — trying new foods, meeting new people, exploring new places, inhaling fresh air, steady cold weather, scratching the surface of a new life adventure is quite a thrilling experience on its own!
On Low tides;
- Oh, I cried! — Especially when I resumed, I cried almost every day for different reasons to unpack. I was experiencing a wide array of emotions simultaneously, firstly, I was out of my comfort zone (home), secondly, I had an overwhelming to-do list where everything seemed equally crucial (like trying to drink from a fire hose), and the height of it was that I hoped to land an early internship opportunity but it did not go well as at then. It took quite a toll on me cos I worked really hard for it, however in Omotoke’s reminder to me tonight, “The end is guaranteed”, and that is the fact that I would land a great internship that would be the beginning of a fantastic and fulfilling career experience here!
- Making new friends — Certainly, this is an irony from the community I mentioned earlier. My school is quite big and connecting with individuals who didn’t share obvious similarities proved to be quite challenging for me. I found myself constantly questioning, wondering if they liked me, or if our conversations were merely superficial. Those initial interactions were difficult, but I persevered. By asking questions and being genuine, I have gradually improved my ability to connect with others. I hope that with time, these connections will blossom into lasting friendships.
- Adapting to Academics —Haha, let me give you an example. I had no idea what Walmart was before I came here. I simply compared it to Shoprite in my mind, so I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what my accounting professor was trying to convey about its size until I visited a store myself. Having the right context is crucial, and as an international student, I lacked that perspective. Education here emphasizes practical application rather than memorization, which was quite different from what I was accustomed to!
I found a couple of resources & actions that helped me pull through the first module, here are a few that are top of mind;
- Mantra App — for daily affirmations to remind me of my awesomeness
- Triumph 30 App — to pray consistently
- Balance App— for guided & mindful meditations
- Social media apps — to stay in touch with my family & friends across the world e.g IM & WhatsApp for video calls & IG for online journalling on my private page & green circle
- Youtube — cos Youtube!
- I cook my meals — not just to save money, but to occasionally relax and stay connected to home (definitely in my foodie era)
- Amazon Prime — free delivery & perks for the first 6 months for students
- Discovered the Locket app & widget recently, trying it out soon
To anyone aspiring for an MBA program from a top school, I am not sure if you could be ever prepared enough for the journey but nonetheless, do your best to prepare. Speak to a number of people who have gone ahead to learn from their experiences (good and bad), have a positive framing /perspective towards your journey, and don't anchor on other people's experiences. Don’t set too many expectations on people to assist you, as people can be unpredictable — sometimes they have good intentions but lack the ability to help, and at other times, they are simply unreliable. Ultimately, take charge of your own journey.
I resume a new module in a few days and I am hopeful that the experience will be easier, and more fun. I hope to be more intentional, live in the moment, strive to make an impact within my school community, and truly, live! * insert if there is something you wanna do, just do it song*