Friday, October 30, 2009

Life is Good

Life is indeed good. I have a job that I actually enjoy going to every day and one that offers me camaraderie and growth. I am surrounded by people who believe in me and one of my biggest problems is having too much work thrown at me because I am competent and capable. The pace has slowed down just in time for this last push of writing, studying and research and my new (additional) team has worked out famously. A year ago I was newly laid-off and horrifyingly afraid that I would never be able to break into a commercial real estate brokerage again, especially one that’s been this supportive.

Because I have presentations due the week of Thanksgiving and finals the following Tuesday and Thursday, I have decided not to prepare my usual Turkey Day feast for the masses. Part of me really loves scouring the interwebs for recipes, going all out at the farmers’ markets, and spending hours battling the crowds at Williams & Sonoma and Ralph’s. But alas, my sensibility is rearing its head this time around. I’ve been fortunate to have so many people around who wanted to join me in years past, and this year is no different. Again, what’s making me anxious is that I have so many options; too many people are requesting the pleasure of my presence. Everyone should have such problems…

Now of course this expression of love for my current life situation doesn’t come without some caveats. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a bundle of anxious energy all of the time. I can’t sit through a movie because my mind is going a million miles a minute and I can’t fall asleep without reading a boring book because I have a hard time turning myself “off”. This becomes a bigger problem when I’m dealing with conflicts in my life. Small personal dramas, school stress, virtually anything really, can ruin my sunny outlook. That’s not to say that I don’t usually have a positive disposition (I’m a people-pleaser after all), but I have a hard time keeping it all in perspective most of the time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

8 Weeks In...

I'm having a really hard time comprehending that I've been in school for two months now.  It feels like just yesterday I was going to orientation and getting lost in the halls (surprisingly not hard to do even at 27 and in an office building).  I managed to survive midterms despite some personal drama and in two weeks I get to register for next semester's classes.  It hasn't been the easiest 8 weeks of my life, but it's really amazing how easily one can just fall back into the routine of working and studying; I don't exactly remember how I kept myself busy before bschool. 

But now it's crunch time.  I have two restests, two cases, three presentations, two papers and two final exams left - and that's all in a matter of six weeks.  I'm already preparing myself for late nights (I will have to break down and call the pizza delivery man one of these days) and Friday nights without my friends.  I'm pretty sure this is one of the last weekends before finals that I will be able to go out twice AND sneak in a run (I signed up for another 1/2 marathon in January). 

I always say that I'm good under pressure.  What this really means is that I'm an excellent procrastinator and can't get much of anything done until I can literally feel the deadline.  Unfortunately, my Quantitative Analysis class has taken up so much time that I haven't been able to start my last two Organizational Behavior papers and have turned to setting my own deadlines in order to conquer those bad boys.  In fact, Quant is so bad I actually dreamt about not finishing my two latest assignments last night.  The last month at work has been overwhelmingly crazy, but this little reprieve couldn't have come at a better time.  The fact that I'm blogging means that I'm not working through my lunches to tackle a ridiculous number of assignments. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'A' Squad

I'm pretty sure the last time I heard the term "A Squad" used in reference to me was when I DIDN'T make it when I was playing 7th grade volleyball (hey now, I made some good friends that season on the "B" team). Bdubs has taken to using this term these days when talking about our close group of girlfriends. We all met playing kickball (on separate teams of course) and have become pretty inseparable in the last year. Now I'm not too proud to say that the majority of our activities revolve around recreational sport and drinking, but we're all in our mid-twenties and single - it's inevitable.

And then there are "Girls Night". The best part about these girls is that they can cook and they like to eat. There is always flowing beer, full-fat cheese and some sort of gourmet concoction. I'm talking homemade sushi, dark chocolate covered strawberries, hummus from scratch... and I bring salad (I told you I can't cook but I do try). These gatherings of about eight of us starting about six months ago as a way for us to rally around each other. We had one when I got a job, when Riegs had her heart broken, when Kulas moved… But now they have turned into much more than that. These are the nights I will give up my homework to enjoy. I always show up in my pajamas and it never fails that I laugh until I cry.

And that’s why Bdubs calls us the “A Squad”. It sounds like we’re in high school, but it symbolizes our bond as ridiculous grown-ups. Perhaps it’s that we can all laugh and make fun of each other, but they’re some of the most understanding and least judgmental ladies I’ve ever met. I’ve pull some outrageous stunts in their presence (not doubt with at least a little bit of goading), and they continue to love me just the same. Sure, they’re gonna post the pictures of Facebook, but they’re not going to tell me what an idiot I looked like. When times get tough (lost jobs, broken hearts, difficult choices) and friends fall away, these ladies have been my rock and they are truly the reason I’m still trucking.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


One of the struggles I definitely wasn't prepared for was my apparent inability to feed myself efficiently.  My schedule these days is very out-of-whack.  In college, we were forced to pretty much each at least two square meals a day.  We were always on campus, had a cafeteria at our convenience, and it was paid for (!).  When we needed to stay up late to study, there were vending machines, pizza delivery men, and boxes of oreos. 

These days, I like to think of myself as a little more sophisticated.  I've spent the last five years living on my own, grocery shopping and cooking.  I tried to eat granola bars and coffee for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and then whatever was in the house for dinner when I got home from work.  Now, I don't even know when I'm hungry.  The days I go to class I try to pack another sandwich to eat during class.  The problem occurs when I find myself eating four turkey or pb and j sandwiches in a span of three days and still being hungry.  I don't have time to go grocery shopping because my evenings are filled with group projects and class.  Sundays I study or am at school and definitely don't want to slave over the stove when I haven't even had time to catch up on Grey's Anatomy for three weeks. 

I'm definitely not hungry at 5pm on the car ride from work to school and there are rarely opportunities to scarf down that pre-packed sandwich that's been sitting at the bottom of my bag for hours.  I get home between 10 and 11pm and am far too drained to do anything but open a bag of potato chips or pour a bowl of cereal.  The next morning I'm starving and counting down the minutes to lunch by 10am.  You'd think this would be a great weight-loss solution, but that hasn't seemed to happen either.  That's partly because what I do put in my mouth isn't great.  So little time for fresh anything...

Part of me really wants to start cooking; to get a few cookbooks, spend a ton of money of fresh produce I know will go bad before I get a chance to enjoy it properly, and finally do as much good for my body as I am for my mind.  The more rational part of me says: "screw it - I'll cook in two years when I have time (yeah, right... when I'm working 80 hour weeks) and enjoy the grape jelly on Ritz dinners while I'm still single". 

So what do I do?  What do I eat?  When?  I wish there were books about what to do in these kind of situations.  Last night I made apple bread from a box (I burnt it) and a frozen pizza.  Awesome. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This Week's Theme is Support

Making hard decisions is "hard".  Living with those decisions can sometimes be the most difficult part.  From my decision to finally tackle the GMAT, to figuring out where to apply to grad school and then actually doing it, required the support of my family and friends.  I was constantly calling my mom to get assurance that I was making the right decision.  I talked about it often to my friends to get their input and even talked it out with my coworkers. 

I knew that getting my MBA would require sacrifice, but I wasn't quite sure what exactly that would entail.  I knew I wouldn't be able to spend as much time with my friends, travel back to Michigan as often and take on huge amounts of student loans, but there have been a few surprises these past six weeks. 

The biggest surprise has been the range of support I've recieved for the choices I'm continually making.  Obviously, my peers at Pepperdine have been amazing.  We spend so much time together and are really good at reassuring each other that it'll all be worth the sacrifices and hard work in the end.  My roommate, whom I consider one of my closest friends, hasn't exactly been there for me.  I don't know if it's because she doesn't understand how difficult it is for me to do this alone, or that she can't see the connection between my new lifestyle and the ultimate goal, but we've been struggling.  Part of me really hates that I've had to separate the "good" friends from the "bad", but I've realized what amazing bunch of people have really shown up for me.  They're the ones that make this possible because nobody can go through life without a good team of cheerleaders.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


In theory, I was going to keep this blog upbeat and professional. It was going to be about only the serious issues I face daily when trying to make my work/life/school balance "work". Well folks, it's gonna get personal because that's pretty much all I can come up with right now.

Tonight I have my first mid-term in over five years and I can't remember the last time I studied this hard. And it's an ESSAY exam - I rock those. Between being in study groups with the overachievers (basically everyone in an MBA program is an overachiever - that's how they got there), and being totally freaked out over an actual graded exam, I've been going a little mad. Add to that another midterm on Tuesday for my actual "hard" class - Quantitative Methods - and my inability to hang out with my friends (again, I'm too busy studying!). Even work has picked up because someone around here realized I was smart and needed a challenge to excel - imagine!

As they say, it's all well and good until it's well....not. Due to some shall we say "surprises" in the friend/boy department piled on top of everything else, I was definitely struggling to balance all those balls in the air. My friends, those balls came a-dropping down yesterday morning and I had to take a day off work. Ideally, I would have used that time to study, do laundry, go grocery shopping, pick up my dry-cleaning, wash my car, Swiffer the living room or organize my sweaters... but instead I laid in bed until noon, cried my way into the bathroom to take a shower sometime in the afternoon, and made it to my study group around dinnertime, all the while berating myself because I couldn't keep it together.

Not that I feel a ton better today, because I most certainly do not, but I feel better that nobody cared that I took a day off to just take care of myself, even though I wasn’t “sick”. Lord knows that I wouldn’t exactly have been a stellar employee, and probably an even worse student, if I didn’t give myself the time to get it together.

So maybe there was a message to this story. When you’re in the midst of midterms, you find out a good friend of yours slept with your man, work is getting too overwhelming, you’re PMSing and you miss your friends, TAKE A DAY OFF WORK.