The first thing I have to do when starting a new blog post each week is go back through my calendar and remember everything I’ve done. This evening I just had a moment of “was that really this week??” as this week seems to have both simultaneously flown by but also, at times, felt endless! Calendar invites for Monday feel like they happened about three weeks ago – I’m shocked at just how much I’ve managed to cram in this week…
I may sound like a broken record, but the course seems to have been turned up another level this week. I don’t know why this surprises me, as this is the University of Oxford, but I really think I’m reaching my absolute max capacity now. The combination of GOTO and both core courses (Strategy and Firms & Markets) starting, means there is so much to do. The pre-recorded materials for each course take a lot of time to get through, and then the “essential” reading and case prep is another level again. (Does anyone have time for the “recommended” reading?!)
I don’t have any classes or contact time scheduled for Monday so I like to use it as my day to get through as much reading as possible (I’ve genuinely never read so much in all my life!) I’ve also started doing another Zoom workout session for my college on a Monday evening, which is really fun.
Once we hit Tuesday it is full on with classes, meeting up with classmates for coffee walks, group Zoom calls about our GOTO project and lots of hours researching for GOTO and CDL. On Friday we submitted our GOTO Concept Note which is a five page presentation about our chosen topic. Our specific problem statement is:
“The UK is said to be the loneliest country in Europe. One in 10 people aged 16-24 are ‘always or often’ lonely, and this is only set to increase with the current Covid-19 pandemic. Without tackling this problem, the NHS will be overwhelmed with loneliness and a raft of illness caused by it. What are the root causes of modern-day loneliness in youth? And what interventions and opportunities can help to mitigate this?”
It’s definitely a “wicked problem” and one that is going to be interesting to try and tackle…
On Wednesday evening, we had another layer added to the ever-burgeoning work load with the introduction of yet another module: the Entrepreneurship Project. It officially starts in mid-February but on Wednesday night we had an hour long call with the faculty, explaining how it will work and setting us off on our first task: find a group. A group of five, not four or six (as was repeated many times!) I’m looking forward to this module but really could have done with a few more weeks before we were acquainted with it – another thing to add to the to-do list…
And then Friday. Well, Friday hit me like a tonne of bricks, shall we say. I’m not ashamed to admit that by the time Friday rolled around I was struggling to cope with the week. The culmination of work pressures and the fact that we have taken on this MBA through a global pandemic just got to me. Ten minutes before my first morning Zoom I received a wonderful present from one of my best friends and her thoughtfulness just tipped me over the edge, and I sat in our hallway and had a little cry. Everything just felt so overwhelming, especially with all the news about the lockdowns potentially being extended; it’s hard to see how it’s ever going to end.
After my morning CDL call and once I had submitted my groups GOTO Concept Note, I closed my laptop for good and had some time away from work on Friday afternoon. I took a nice long walk down the canal and spoke to my ever supportive parents before having a bit of time on the sofa with “Married at First Sight” (don’t judge me until you’ve tried it) and a lovely dinner cooked by Michaela. I also had lots of messages from friends and fellow MBAs, which really helped – it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
And now we’re starting another week – I’m back feeling positive and upbeat and ready to take it on…and if it all goes Pete Tong, I’ve got a fresh stash of emergency chocolate waiting (thanks Cress!)