Perspectives on Depression & Loneliness at HBS

Prior to meeting my class in the fall of 2008, I repeatedly heard that the networks you participate in and the friendships you build at HBS are just as important as the material discussed in class. I quickly learned as a new father, and the husband of a full time pharmacist, that there is little time at HBS to socialize with my classmates. It has taken a solid year to learn how to balance getting to know my classmates, spending time with family, and academics.

This short article was born from a request from a friend to explore how HBS may seem lonely at times, from the perspective of different groups of people. Relative to most of my classmates, I would easily fit into the “old and boring” category. I am a few years older than most of my classmates and the thought of drinking and partying until the wee hours of the morning is about as appealing to me as getting through another CFM case. I also fit into a very small group of students who are busy raising their children with a career mom who is just as busy as the fathers (or vice versa for any student moms out there).

The biggest surprise when my wife and I arrived at HBS was the amount of families that had a stay at home parent. In just a few months into our RC year, many of the stay at home parents were able to establish some great friendships with one another in the close-knit HBS community. While the Partners Club and the Crimson Kids made a great effort to reach out to us, it was impossible to get involved. My wife worked every other weekend and would get home late during the week. As a result, we barely could see each other, let alone have time to hang out with the many great families on campus.

In addition, our attendance at section social events is almost as infrequent as our involvement in the Partners Club and Crimson Kids tag heuer replica for sale . First, ninety percent of the section events involve fancy evening dinner parties or late night starts at local bars – both tough to join with an infant. Second, there is always a high probability that my wife will be working on occasions that the section organizes a “family” event on the weekends.

In keeping with the theme of loneliness at HBS, I must admit that we rarely feel lonely here. While our lack of involvement may sound a bit depressing to some, like most people at HBS, we are much too busy juggling cases, professional careers, parenting, and visiting family (we both grew up just north of Boston) to feel lonely. The only times I recall feeling detached from HBS is during the many long weekends and random days off when I am hanging out in SFP while the majority of students are off on exotic vacations and student treks.

Please understand that I write this article for the sole reason to describe the HBS lifestyle and culture from my perspective. I am by no means condemning or complaining about the partying and socializing that goes on around us. In fact, I think that such events are one of the characteristics that make HBS such a great place. While I admit to succumbing to some FOMO at times, I have come to peace, like most parents in my position breitling superocean replica, with the reality of attending HBS while raising a family. I strategically choose the most important school presentations to attend, cases to read, and make an effort to attend section events a couple of times a semester simply to keep in touch with people whom I would not see otherwise.

I think it is important, however, for students without children to understand how those of us with children have to make sacrifices to make everything work. I think it is equally important to appreciate the working spouses who, after a long day of work, have hours of parenting to deal with when we attend networking dinners, study groups, and case preparations.

While it may seem that HBS can be a difficult place for families, we actually feel quite the opposite. Everyone we have met has been very understanding when we repeatedly decline to participate in section events. We always do our best to keep things in perspective as much as possible — less than two years ago, I was finishing up a year-long tour in Iraq and next year I am sure that we will both be even busier as the reality of working again quickly approaches. There is no doubt we will look back on our time here with fond memories of starting our family in this truly amazing place.