Last Thursday my mind turned to what I had to get done before leaving for Durham: I looked through my “Duke Travel” folder in Yahoo mail, which helps me to stay organized. I saw that all of my reservations for the upcoming term are nicely lined up. I have reservations for the next two residencies, which will take me through to the end of the program. The on-campus residencies occur roughly twice a month. For the most part, this means that I travel once every two weeks; however, there is an occasional 3-week lapse between residencies.

So, I easily found my reservation, went to the JetBlue website and checked-in before that Thursday afternoon was over. I had all of my books and clothes tucked into a couple of carry-on bags sitting in the trunk of my car: I never check my luggage because I want to save time once I get to RDU. I printed out my boarding pass and got on with the rest of my work day.

Just after 5 o’clock, I made my way out of the parking garage outside my office in Cambridge. Traffic was piled up to get over the bridge, which takes me into Boston and to the airport. I spent the 30-minute drive mentally reviewing the school work that was due, what still needed to be finalized, and what could wait until Friday night. I pulled into central parking and make my way to Terminal C …

At Least I Don’t Fly Solo

Looking back, my biggest fear about living in Boston and doing the Weekend Executive program at Fuqua was that I would be the only one flying in from out of town. As it turns out, there are three of us who routinely take the non-stop flight from Logan airport to RDU. As I approached my gate last week, I saw one of my classmates, Sameer. Jai showed up a little later. It was term 4 of the program, and we have taken this flight together many times. Outside of my team, I talk to Sameer and Jai more than anyone else in the program. At the gate we exchanged notes about the last two weeks. On the plane we generally sit separately. I spend the time doing some last minute reading for class.

At the other end of our trip, the three of us shared a cab from the Raleigh airport to the Thomas Center on Duke’s campus, where we spend our residencies. When we got there, several regulars who come in on Thursday nights were at the Blue Devil Lounge. For many of us, the travel is too far to fly in on Friday morning and make it to our 8 am class. For me in particular, there are no Friday morning flights that will get me into Durham in time for that 8 am class.

In all, about a third of the class descends upon the Thomas Center from out of town, and not many from the same location. Collectively, we have most of the eastern seaboard represented along with one student from Seattle, Washington.

From RDU to BOS

The weekend residency went by quickly, as it always does. Before I knew it, Sameer, Jai, and I made our way back to the airport on Saturday. We all took the 6:30 pm non-stop flight back to Boston. Although we do not coordinate our travel, because there are few non-stop flights from RDU to Boston, we invariably wind up on the same return flight every time.

I got back home on Saturday night in time to read my son a bed-time story. I spent the next 2 hours catching up on what happened at home. Life does not stop while I am away from home, but I find a way to keep up. What I have gained from travelling to Fuqua is well worth the extra effort. I will fly down to Duke 25 times for my MBA program. I was never much of a traveler before, but at this point in the program I have become accustomed to the travel. Because I have done most of my flights on JetBlue I now have 70,258 TrueBlue points: enough for me to take my wife and son wherever they want to go once I have graduated.