Fall Term 2 for first-year students is a hectic time at Fuqua. My classmates and I took (at least) 4 classes, were involved in several extracurricular activities, and were swamped with internship recruiting. Our calendars were jam-packed with classes, Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team meetings, employer coffee chats and presentations, mock interviews, club meetings and occasionally a little time for lunch.

Needless to say, it can be difficult to find time for hobbies and fun. However, one of the goals I set for myself in business school was to find a way to still pursue the activities I loved to do outside of school and to make sure I was having fun, no matter how crazy things got.

Here are 3 ways that I’ve been able to accomplish this goal during my life at Fuqua so far!

Completing My First Marathon

Running a marathon has been a major bucket list item for me for several years. I decided that 2015 was my year to make it happen, and I successfully completed my first marathon on November 1! Now if I’m being honest, training for this marathon was not easy (to say the least!). Early morning and late night runs on top of an already hectic schedule made training difficult to manage at times. However, the amazing sense of accomplishment I felt when I finally crossed the finish line outweighed all of these challenges. Having the support of my family and classmates (especially my C-LEAD team) made the feeling even better.

Cooking for My Section’s “Friendsgiving”

The Thanksgiving turkey I cooked for my section mates during my life at Fuqua
The Thanksgiving turkey I cooked for my section mates

With Thanksgiving right in the middle of our Fall 2 schedule, our section (about 75 of my classmates) took the time to take a short break from our studies and recruiting activities to hang out, eat some delicious food, and share this beloved American tradition with our international classmates who had never experienced the holiday before.

Cooking is another one of my favorite hobbies, so I volunteered to make one of the turkeys for our Thanksgiving dinner. Several of my classmates prepared many classic holiday dishes (homemade stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, YUM!), and we also had some more modern fare (cranberry jalapeño cream cheese dip…so good!) that was enjoyed by everyone. One of my section mates even brought over a beautiful drawing of the Duke Blue Devil that he had made. We all signed it and will keep as a section keepsake. It was a great night and a reminder of how grateful we all are to have such good friends at an amazing school.

Supporting the Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants

Life at Fuqua 3
Our section’s Blue Devil keepsake

The Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants is one of the flagship events for Fuqua Admissions, as well as for student organizations like the Black and Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) and Business in Africa (BIA) Club. I attended the workshop as a prospective student, and it definitely helped me solidify that Fuqua was the right place for me. Prospective students had the opportunity to engage with current students and over 70 alumni who came back to share their stories, give career advice and share why they think Fuqua is such a special place.

Whether it was giving a tour of Duke’s campus, helping prospective students prep for their admissions interviews, or moderating the health care alumni career panel, I was able to find ways to give back and have fun at an event that means so much to me.

All of these experiences and more have enriched my life at Fuqua beyond what I could have ever imagined. While academics, career planning, and club activities are all important parts of my life at Fuqua, taking a little time for myself to accomplish my personal goals, to give back, and to have a little fun make the experience even better.

I would advise incoming students to focus on prioritizing your goals and activities and then communicating this information to your teammates. The Team Fuqua spirit really embraces open communication, and students are more than willing to accommodate and support each other when it comes to accomplishing your goals. I let my team know I was not available for morning meetings on Wednesdays because of my running schedule, and during the Minority Workshop Weekend my team picked up the extra slack when I was busy. In return, I found ways to take on additional responsibilities with future assignments to make sure the load was evenly balanced.

Spend some time thinking about what personal, professional, and academic ambitions you have before arriving to campus, so that you can hit the ground running when you get here. Investing in a good planner also helps, too. Life at Fuqua is amazing, for sure!

fellow volunteers at Minority Workshop Weeked, life at Fuqua
Volunteering at Minority Workshop Weekend