Take your time. Stop and smell the people.

Seriously, look at how cute my mom is.

Mom

Best mom ever.  But don’t let her beguile you with the cute Asian mom thing.  She is sharp as a tack and wise beyond her years.

So this one time, she wrote me a birthday card. I was turning 18, and I don’t know why I remember it so well (I don’t even know if I still have it) but I can remember exactly what she told me in this particular card.  She said, “The years will only continue to accelerate from now on, so take time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy life’s moments.”

Dude, I told you.  WISE.

She couldn’t have been more right, of course, as the last 10 years (excuse me while I go hyperventilate for a few minutes) have flown by.  So many things have changed since she wrote me that card.  I have made new friends, and lost some old ones.  I grew an inch or so (I am very proud of that), improved my jumper, but miss a few more three-foot putts.  I have lived a few places, had some different jobs, and lost my father.   But one thing hasn’t changed (well, this hasn’t changed either) and that is how fast life is whizzing by.

So, here’s the thing.  Taking what my mom said before, (which is right, and if you say she’s wrong you are not invited to my birthday party) your two years at your MBA will actually feel like two minutes, and when you’re surrounded by 400 of the most interesting and coolest people in the world, that is, let’s see (2/400) *(60) = .3 seconds you can spend with every person here.  But you can’t miss the opportunity to get to know everyone, so you spin around like a Whirling Dervish trying to make sure that you get your .3 seconds with everyone here before this whole world that you only get to spend 2 years in (see: 2 minutes) comes to a screeching halt, you wear a funny hat for one day, you’re given a piece of paper, everyone you have been seeing every day for 2 years (minutes) scatters across the globe and you are thrown back into the world with a job and a commute.

Man…

But you gotta listen to the second part of what my mom said.  You cannot keep up with the phantasmagoric (I have always wanted to use that word.  Thank you, Nathaniel Hawthorne) movements of the ever-quickening world around you.  You will never be able to keep up.  Your feet simply cannot keep pace with the long legs and the ceaseless march of Father Time.

The fix is, though, counterintuitive. The remedy is to slow yourself down, and spend time during a point in your life where there seems to be no time to spend.  You are going to miss some things, sure, but take your time on the things you don’t miss.

So this last week I did just that.  I spent five days with a handful of my favorite Sloanies in Colorado.  (Almost) No work, no email, lots of snow.  Prior to the trip, I would have said that I knew all of my traveling companions well.  In fact, I would have counted some of them as my very best friends at Sloan.  I mean, I had spent way more than my allotted .3 seconds to get to know them, so, of course I knew them well.  But on the plane home, when reliving the slopes and the powder and the food and the games and the late nights, I realized – nope – I didn’t know them before.  But now I do.  And it’s awesome.

And that’s the thing.

Look, everyone you meet at Sloan is going to be amazing.  However, I posit to you that, simply knowing that someone is amazing isn’t enough.  You need to understand why they are amazing.

What in their past has shaped them into the people that they are, changed the way that they think, or molded their character into the amazing being that you met during adMIT weekend.   How long does it take them to jump in the cold stream next to the hot springs, how many two letter Scrabble words do they know, and what noises do they make when weaving down a double black. What lessons did their mothers and fathers teach them, where did they grow up and how does that affect them, how did they fail, how did they succeed, how do they win and how do they lose.

Spend more than your .3 seconds.  Don’t cheat yourself out of getting to really know people.  For only after, can you really learn from them.

Roses are nice, sure, but they are boring compared to people.  Don’t waste your time smelling the roses, you only have 2 years (minutes) here.  Stop and smell the people.

 

3 Comments

  1. so much wonderful info here, : D.

  2. Jessica Dempsey

    I absolutely LOVE this blog post! So witty and wise, learned from an amazing Mom, no doubt 🙂 As a prospective future Sloanie, I look forward to smelling lots of people!

  3. Just, Thank you. 🙂

    This made so much sense even beyond the confines of Sloan.

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