Post Pre-Term

Pre-Term was chaotic fun. I ran from one activity to the next, sleep deprived and giddy. [Read for yourself in Kate’s first post here, “And It Begins …”] Now, as I reflect on the past three weeks, I’ve noticed things are still fun but less chaotic. I’m getting better at this whole grad school thing.

Making Friends at Wharton:

When I first arrived at Wharton, socializing felt a bit like speed dating. I’d introduce myself, exchange fast facts with my new friend (name, hometown, undergraduate school and work experience), and then run off to meet someone else. I confused quality with quantity.

Now I know better. Speed dating has evolved to real dating. Here’s the typical scenario. I meet a nice girl and think to myself “Ooooh I like her! I can see us being friends. I better get her number.” A week later we go out to dinner and have an excellent time. There are no awkward silences, we like the same food, and we’re both aspiring yogis. Success!

Unlike real dating, my success rate is unusually high because Wharton has vetted the group. To get admitted, you need to be interesting, articulate, and smart. That makes for a good friend (or date). It is relatively easy to make friends here for this reason. Thank you, Wharton!

My Apartment, Unpacked At Last:

I’ll admit it took longer than expected for me (Type A by nature) to get my apartment in order. Pre-Term tired me out. I let laundry, dishes, and boxes pile up. My apartment felt like a place to crash at, nothing more. But today, I returned to Philly after spending the weekend in New York and felt that distinct “I’M HOME!” rush as I walked through the door. I’m not sure what caused this shift, but riding this high I unpacked the last of my boxes. Finally, I’m settled into my new digs.

Learning Team Success:

During Pre-Term, my Learning Team made a point to get to know each other well. We got along splendidly outside the classroom, but I still had no idea how things would play out once class started. Management 610, a one-week course wedged between Pre-Term and Labor Day, put any lingering anxiety to rest.

The course featured a computer simulation in which Learning Teams acted as senior management for an electric car company, competing to maximize company profit. Each person on my Learning Team chose roles outside our functional expertise to “stretch” ourselves. For example, I was the VP of R&D – a stretch indeed if you know anything about my aptitude for science.

As novices in our new roles, we created a team environment in which it was comfortable and encouraged to ask for help. It was inspiring and humbling to see five very competent, accomplished people scrambling to learn something completely foreign, and holding each other’s hands in the process. Seeing my team come together this way put my mind at ease regarding the work ahead.

Editor’s note: This post first appeared on Wharton MBA Program’s Student Diarist blog on Sept. 5, 2012.

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