Having completed my first semester as an MBA student at the University of Illinois, I have a lot to reflect on. There are things I love, things I hate, and things I’m still looking forward to. So much has changed since my arrival on campus in August. Much to my dismay, grass has been replaced with snow. Class is difficult to walk to in sub-zero, snowy, and windy conditions.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my first semester, I have a feeling that the best is yet to come. The small class sizes have been the most significant difference, compared with my undergraduate experience. The trouble with first-year MBA classes is they often cater to the masses, and by that I mean I found myself enrolled in classes in which either I was already proficient or that would be of little use following graduation.
Mandatory classes, such as ethics, were often painstakingly dull and common-sense. In some ways, I felt my first-semester grades reflected my interest in the subject matter. In no way is it difficult to maintain an A average; however, I often found it hard to write papers purely because I was not being mentally stimulated by the assignment.
While the semester was not without disappointment, it was also full of happiness, excitement, and enthusiasm. Being surrounded by like-minded people—in a cooperative learning environment—pushed me to work harder. My guilty pleasure is reading successful people’s autobiographies. More often than not, they will reflect on that one teacher who changed their perspective in the best way possible. I found that one teacher. So it was a great semester overall.
Christmas break served to relieve a semester’s worth of stress, but the first couple of weeks back made it seem as though we’d never had a vacation. Internship applications are effectively a part-time job, or at least as much of a workload as another class. Sending in applications daily, I’m finding the process easier and easier, yet no more enjoyable. Thankfully, the amount of work I have to do for classes this semester is much lighter. The second semester allows students to have more control over class selection. Some of my electives are strategic thinking, negotiations, and advanced finance. I’m very excited.
With a semester under my belt, I feel an air of confidence about the upcoming six months. I now know what is required academically, socially, and physically. As such, I’m confident that I will be able to involve myself more in extracurricular activities. Although I can’t get overly confident and rest on my laurels. Time management will be my best friend moving forward.