Last year, around this time, I had a brief respite between the end of classes and the holidays, and began thinking … The holidays are an interesting time: you remain thankful for what you have, but get ambitious and think about the things you want. When you’re young, you can write Santa a letter about all the wonderful toys you want, and if you’ve been good, you might get some. When you’re older, you can hope that the people around you can guess what you want, and be thankful if you don’t get coal in your stocking.

Part of what makes business school so interesting is that we’re professional adults, trapped in a seemingly child-like state for two years. It’s challenging, but it’s not exactly real life, right? So, in that spirit, I developed a Christmas List last year. Let’s see how I did …

  1. A job: Because next Christmas would be somewhat less merry without one. To my great fortune, I was actually able to find an internship that I liked, and am able to go back there after graduation. This was definitely one of those presents I had to earn, though, and if there were any fat men responsible for this, they weren’t wearing red suits.
  2. A final four appearance: Coming to Fuqua in 2010, after winning an NCAA championship, I didn’t want to get greedy. But they looked pretty good last year. That is, until the Sweet 16 round. But there’s always this year. And, if that fails, there are always petty chants at Cameron to make us feel better.
  3. More time with my family: Fall 1 last year was tough. Between trying to recruit my way into an internship and trying to make the grades to justify getting such a job, I wasn’t at home as much as I’d have liked. This year it’s been different. There’s a lot more flexibility; not the same requirement for face time.
  4. More sleep: It’s funny, we all say that we’re going to prioritize work-life balance when looking for our post-MBA jobs, yet here in Durham, when we actually have the chance to implement such balance, we tend not to do it. I told myself that it had to change after I found an internship. To my great surprise, it did. Maybe there was just less pressure, because it didn’t seem like there was less to do. And as the song goes, “He sees you when you’re sleeping.” And, I never realized how creepy those lyrics were until now.

So, all in all, it’s been a satisfying 2011, even if there won’t be a White Christmas in Durham in a few weeks. And, though it’s not quite over yet, I can safely say that coming to Fuqua was one of the best presents I could have given myself.