Friday I was invited to be on a panel of current and former students at the Orientation day for incoming EMBA students. I was really excited for them…and had vivid memories of that hour or so from last year this time. Hard to believe how fast this year has flown by now, and how long the next 3 ½ months look.
I was asked to come because none of the other panelists had children and the program director thought that having at least one panelist balancing a home life as well would be helpful. It was a lot of fun. It was neat to see their fears and optimism as they started the journey I’m now mostly done with. It was nice to be able to give them some warning about what’s ahead and encourage them that they’re able to do this. That the fear is warrented (it is really hard) but you can make it work.
I talked to them about scheduling out my 168 hours. About making sure I had some down time every week on the Sabbath. About finding time with your spouse and finding margin. And about processing what they’re learning, whether in a journal (like a normal person) or out in the world like I do on this blog. And I made sure they were aware of the value of their classmates and the learning that takes place from each other, not just the professors. I told them it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and like you’re the only person in the class that doesn’t belong.
In some ways I’d love to start over again knowing what I know now. Partly because I’m looking for excuses to avoid the current work and partly because I know the answers they’re still waiting to find. And because I do love learning and being with other smart people and gleaning wisdom from them.
They have a hard road ahead. I’m thankful I survived the last year and I’m starting this week tired and anxious about a lot of things. But I can remember the fear I had a year ago and that is mostly gone now. And now I’m ready to roll into the finish line, engine firing on half the cylinders and all.