Post-Vacation Slump

When I came back to HBS after winter break last year, I was raring to go. Not only was I relaxed and well-rested after the much needed break, but I had also seen the fruits of my labor in action; I was starting to think in a whole new way.

Over vacation, I had looked at everything in terms of operational effectiveness, from check-in lines at the airport to restaurant service. I had spent the entire time annoying friends and relatives by adding, “I read a case about that!” to every conversation.

I had actually read sections of the newspaper that I’d previously thrown away untouched with interest and understanding (“The Mutual Funds Report?” Who was I kidding?). And I had mastered some b-school jargon, throwing around terms like “present value,” “kanban” and “DCF” into conversation in witty ways. Or so I thought.

But this year? Business school was the farthest thing from my mind. As my boyfriend, a first-year at Tuck, showed the typical signs of business school overload (such as comments like, “That note about turning on the gas gage has ‘low skim value!'”), I relished my empty mind. I wanted nothing to do with what I had learned this term.

Interesting, thought-provoking and informative as it all was, I just didn’t attack regular life with b-school-colored glasses. Battered and beleaguered by the uncertainty of next year and the horrendous job market, all I craved was doing nothing. “The Golden Girls” has never seemed more riveting.

Unfortunately, even though I’m back, my energy level has not bounced back. And it seems that many of my classmates suffer from a similar condition. I bump into friends who I haven’t seen in six weeks (suggestion to RCs: next year, take all paper classes and no exam classes; you’ll be out in early December), and we half-heartedly inquire about each other’s trips. We rattle off our prospective classes and then trudge on, picking up cases unceremoniously.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still looking forward to this semester. So far, my classes seem great. But a complete lack of pep and enthusiasm haunts most interactions. It was only making my first comment in class that actually got my heart racing again. (How is it that after three whole semesters here, I still get just as nervous and panicked at the start of every new class? Do I perhaps have an odd sweating problem or am I really that freaked out?)

It’s time to jump-start my HBS motor. There’s only one more semester.

The Commencement tab has miraculously appeared on myHBS. Yearbooks are ready to be picked up. I’ve just finished the longest vacation I will have for the rest of my working life. (How did I manage with only two weeks a year?!) And it’s finally hit me that if I don’t begin seriously dealing with next year, I’ll have absolutely nothing to do. (More “Golden Girls”?)

Given that, the first amendment to my New Year’s Resolutions will be to take advantage of this final term. I vow to enjoy the company of my classmates as much as possible, do fun things, explore the area (must go to a museum in Boston before I graduate!), use the vast HBS resources and soak up the knowledge and intelligence that pervade this campus.

Wish me luck.