Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Washington Campus Experience, Pt. 1

What’s up KD? I hope that this message finds you well!! I am knee deep in my last quarter here with KD, which is both exciting and scary at the same time…



Well, in today’s blog, I wanted to begin to share an amazing experience that I had within the KD program. I met some fellow KD students, learned a ton, and even got a chance to have some fun as well. This experience was the Washington Campus for Public Policy, a class for MBA students and executives in Washington D.C.. The course, which is a week long, allows students to get a feel for what it is like to work in Washington D.C.’s political structure. Moreover, it teaches students the important links between the business community, the economy, and the world political machine. Finally, it gives students ample time for networking with one another and, at times, Washington D.C. political and business insiders.



My particular class took place from September 12-16, 2011. Our class was a shared course with students from the Ohio State Fisher School of Business, which added both a fun, but also interesting educational change to the class.



My experience in the class was so outstanding that I really couldn’t contain it in just one blog, so I have broken it into three blogs – Arrival, the Day at the Capitol and other Adventures in Washington, and the Epilogue. I figure, by breaking it down this way, you will get a complete feel about my experience. So, up first, the Arrival.



I arrived in D.C., on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.. It was a surreal day to be arrive, not only because of the fears of another attack, but also the memorials that were taking places all over the city, and the general feel of melancholy around the city. Given the time that I arrived, I wasn’t able to attend any of the festivals, but the news and press coverage was awe-inspiring. Soon after I arrived, I was able to meet up with my roommate, Brian, who was in my in-residence course. I also met Lilia, a fellow KD student, who actually lived close to Brian, and was in our course. Brian and Lilia would be my best friends during the experience – it was great to meet and hang out with them. In fact, some time, we are going to hang out soon.



The next major event was our first day of class. I have to thank Brian – he found us a cheap, quality hotel - which was only a 5 minute walk from our classes. The first day was overall a whirl. First, we met everyone – both those from our KD program and the OSU students. Then, we had introductions, not only to the course and its facilitators, but also to Washington D.C., structure. The initial day was spent learning about policy making, the executive branch of the government, regulation, and lobbying. While it may not sound the interesting, it was actually really fascinating – we had some great presenters who made the topics very engaging.



Our first day closed with a great reception and a fun night of networking – where I actually saw Lavar Arrington. All told – a great first day!



Stay tuned, KD fans… My post is about the Day at the Capitol, and the rest of the course!! Until next time, catch you later KD!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Balance

Finding balance-it's something everyone struggles with, no matter what your 'job' is or how busy or calm your life may seem at that very moment. Most of us might have even chose the Kelley Direct program because it is a great way to achieve your degree while trying to find that balance, given the flexibility the online format provides. But that doesn't make everything else in life slow down. We once had a senior leader at work give us his principles for finding work/life balance, the core of which was have NO more than 5 'roles' in your life. You simply cannot do more than 5 things well. Every time I hear him speak, this gets me, as I start thinking through my roles: wife, daughter, sister, employee, student...oh wait, that's all i get?! add in church member, volunteer, friend, horseback rider, and travel junkie only to find I've now doubled my list. As I reflect on this, it's not that I can't do all of those things; I even have to do many of them. The key is as I doing them well? Do I want to even do some of them if I'm only half-heartedly engaging? Am I letting others down by only giving it my attention while multitasking and thinking of the 'to do' list in my head?

The solution looks different for everyone. Personally, it means having different roles at different times. Work cannot come before my role as a wife, daughter & sister-they will always take precedence. I fit in my volunteering and horseback riding when I have time, most often on the weekends. Travel becomes a more structured, limited time venture. Yet a friend in need immediately rises to the top. For others, this means deciding not to do certain things (I try this, but find I then replace it with another!). Everyone has to find their own balance, yet for me, when I get to doing those 5 roles well, I find much more satisfaction. Spending quality time talking with my parents, going out for a dinner (with no cell phones) with my husband & friends-these are what I will cherish.

This is the core reason for me why I value Kelley Direct. I love that teachers will record & post their lectures, so even though I can't make a Tuesday 8pm session, I can watch it on Thursday morning while on the treadmill. I find invaluable that my classmates are all trying to find this balance, so we understand the give and take during group work. Lastly, I love that I can continue to challenge myself academically, and yet still have my 'other' roles, falling into a routine. Three-quarters of a year into the program, I finally find myself settling into a rhythm of how and when to study and how to do it well; but it took taking a hard look at how my 5 roles would change during these two years of school. I challenge you to do the same.

What are your 5 roles? Are you dedicating your best to them?