Everyone says that time flies in business school — this is true — but you don’t understand or believe it until you experience it for yourself. In addition, you are so busy (even in your second year!) that it is really easy to lose sight of your goals and things that are important to you. I recently finished my first term of my second year at Fuqua, and literally woke up one morning wondering where the last 9 weeks went?! Seriously …
I came back to school in late August and participated in re-orientation (a requirement for second-year students). It was so nice to reconnect with my friends, as well as meet people who I was not very close to in my first year. We talked about our summer internships, discussed classes we were hoping to take, and of course, partied! Re-orientation was refreshing for me because it gave me the chance to refocus on what I came to business school for … you know, those things I wrote about in my application essays. All the re-orientation sessions challenged me to be true to myself about the impact that I hope to make once I leave Fuqua. Very hard questions were asked, some very uncomfortable, and necessary conversations were had. I walked away from re-orientation feeling closer to my classmates, more in love with Fuqua, and more importantly, extremely motivated to be a “leader of consequence.” But then, life happened. Before I knew it, I was stressing out about how to calculate the variance analysis for my managerial accounting class, constantly running from one meeting to the next, trying to socialize with the awesome new first years, and attempting to keep in touch with my friends and family.
So as I embark upon my third-to-last term at Fuqua (I’m so not ready to leave!), I intentionally took some time to make a list of things that I want to do, see, or accomplish before I graduate. Fuqua is such an awesome community, with a wealth of information, knowledge, and experiences, and I would hate for the next 7 months to just pass me by.
So, here’s my Fuqua Bucket List:
- Attend a basketball game! The fact that this has yet to happen is shameful, I admit. It seems like it would be blasphemous to be at Duke for two years and not experience the awesomeness that is Duke basketball.
- Explore Duke’s campus. I get so caught up in life at Fuqua that I sometimes forget that there’s an entire world out there … a Duke world, I mean. Every time I walk around campus I re-discover just how beautiful it is.
- Take at least one class that challenges me, and by challenge, I mean scare me, each term. This is probably the last time in my life that I will attend school full-time, and I want to constantly push myself while I am here.
- Write down my goals. I truly believe that there is some truth in putting what you want out there in the universe, in order to make it happen. And even if that whole theory is hogwash, the idea of introspectively thinking about what I want to do, not just on a day-to-day basis, but thinking about what type of leader I want to be — what type of legacy I want to leave — is helpful in and of itself.
- Network, network, network! Networking was not always easy for me. While I find it very easy to start a conversation with almost anyone, my previous idea of what networking was, made me feel like I had to pretend to be someone that I am not. A guest speaker in one of my classes said something that resonated with me, and made me rethink networking. She said that networking is about being true and clear with yourself about your goals (this is why goal #5 is important), and making your goals known to others. So, when my perfect job opportunity surfaces, I want to be certain that there are people out there who think of me for that job.
- Exercise more. I had a conversation with one of my friends at Fuqua last week; she was really disappointed that she would not be able to run an upcoming marathon because of a knee injury. She was genuinely down about it … and this conversation was happening right after my managerial accounting exam, so I was clearly still thinking about the variance question (see above J). On a serious note though, this conversation really got me thinking. If my goal in life is to affect change in big corporations, I need to first be able to affect change in myself. I owe it to myself to take care of my body.
- Sleep more. Following up on taking care of my body, I need to get more sleep. The hours of sleep that I get each night are ridiculously few. I do not know how I am going to accomplish this, but suggestions are welcome.
- Arrange a time to sit down and talk with Dean Bill Boulding. Dean Boulding is an incredibly busy man, but I hope to get time on his calendar before May. I would love to pick his brain on what it takes to run Fuqua, as well as talk about his aspirations for the school. In addition to Dean Boulding, I want to use my remaining months here to really get to know a couple of my professors. With 6-week terms, we have limited in-classroom interaction with each professor, but they all make themselves available outside of class. I really hope to capitalize on this to learn more about their research and life experiences.
- Donate to Fuqua. My experience here has been nothing short of amazing! I am the first in my family to attend and graduate from college, and now the first to pursue a graduate degree. I can truly say that this has been the most amazing almost two years of my life, and it would not have been possible without the faculty, staff, students, and alumni community that contribute to this place in various capacities. I want to continue this legacy so that those who come after me can experience what I have, and so much more.
- Write thank-you cards to people who have helped me get where I am today. There are so, so many people who have helped me get where I am today. I do not think there is any life accomplishment that I can truly say I did on my own. And while I am incredibly busy, the interesting paradox about business school is that it is probably the only time in my life when I don’t have actual deliverables … I mean we have homework and stuff … but I don’t have a job that I’m getting paid to do. What I’m trying to say is, I have the time to reach out to the people who have helped me. No man is an island, and in addition to paying it forward and paving the way for others, I need to always remember to pay it backward as well.