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Balancing Act

Now that First Year recruiting is in full spin, on top of classes and meetings, networking and travel, are you starting to feel overwhelmed? Is your calendar feeling over-packed, and your free time feeling almost non-existent? Are you struggling to balance your classes, social networking, finals, while fitting in family, loved ones, and personal priorities? Stress management is an ongoing process, and sometimes to get out of our own heads, it helps to lean on others for advice or suggestions on how to “do it all” while still keeping your head clear during the flurry of activity.

We went directly to the source here. We asked Second Year MBAs on your campuses, who were in your shoes just one year ago, how they found their own ways to successfully complete the balancing act. We found a common theme throughout, that it is so important to find ways to take a breath, destress, and recharge in order to enjoy a well-rounded First Year.

Fisayo, Fuqua

Define your own priorities and let that guide you as you manage your time, energy and resources.

Derek, Darden

Take time to reflect every week. School and life moves so fast during the first semester and you often lose sight of what you are working so hard towards. Your goals and priorities may change over the course of the semester, and if you don’t take time to reflect each week, you will never be able to change your routine to accommodate new goals and priorities.

Madeline, Ross

Schedule everything! Casing, homework, thank you emails, time with friends, and loved ones. Stick to your schedule as much as possible and make breaks a must-do. Having an organized calendar is a must so when things you’re interested in come up, you can easily check if you have capacity.

Jacob, Darden

Maintain relationships outside of business school. Talking with friends and family about things other than class and recruiting gives you better perspective on the important stuff in life and can be a great stress reliever!

Misha, Booth

During a networking night on campus, a BCG consultant gave me the inspiration to practice meditation. At least a few nights of the week, I would sit in bed before going to sleep off and try to blank out all my thoughts while slowly inhaling/exhaling. I would initially count up to five for the breathing until I lost track of my counting and my breathing and I was in a more meditative state. It doesn’t have to be anything formal – just taking a moment to sit in silence, breathe, and clear my mind really helped when I was feeling stressed.

Marisa, HBS

Exercise can really help clear your mind and recalibrate. It is tough to find the time when you’re so busy, but even if you can schedule short, weekly sessions at the gym, you’ll find it a great stress relief, and can help you sleep better at night.

Valerie, Sloan

Make sure to get enough sleep, it sounds simple but there’s nothing more important! It’s so easy to start staying up later and later, and spend time that isn’t as productive – try to follow a sleep schedule best you can. Also, give yourself a day off from recruiting-related activities periodically to stay sane and refreshed!

Kristen, Booth

Make a point to spend time by yourself. If you hear what things other people are doing and feel like you're missing out, remember your priorities. Everyone one at school is really busy and trying to balance all the same things you are. But just because people around you might be feeling stressed, doesn't mean you have to!

Andrew, Booth

Learn to say 'no,' and be ok with it. There are a ton of recruiting events in the fall, and those are all in addition to classes, group work, and all of the other social activities that come with starting business school. It was important for my sanity to learn to say 'no' to things and not look back. Sometimes, that could be saying no, going home, putting your phone on silent, and taking the night to unplug and recharge.

Neil, Wharton

Try to resist FOMO, “fear of missing out”! You are going to feel the pressure so often of following the crowd and “everyone is doing it”. But if it doesn’t fit into your priorities, don’t be afraid to take a rain check. Year 2 will be so much sweeter with an offer in hand.

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