Thinking Globally and Acting Locally #1 — A Partially-Confused Graduate
Part 1: How to be a Hermit Crab
You might be thinking now: What do crustaceans got to do with this so-called life experience?
Well, there has to be a way to explain my absence on the blogging platform. And in this day and age, we can all agree that an absence of two months online is equivalent to being away for 2 lifetimes.
So, back to the matter at hand. Why compare with a hermit crab?
Let me explain. In a segmented manner.
A. Submerged Underwater
The first thing about being in an MBA college is the workload. There’s a TON of workload. Specifically, the time-intensive kind.
Let me give you a brief example.
You wake up in the morning at 5 am. (It’s Kolkata, so the Sun rises earlier than expected) You struggle to wake up, until you remember that you have 3 case studies to prepare for, out of which one is in the subject whose class is at 8:30. That makes you wake up with a lot of grumbling (because of course, you’re a night owl and you slept yesterday at 2:30 am working on that presentation which you had to submit for the second class at 10:45). Cursing yourself and your general life decisions that led you here, you shuffle like a zombie hit by a train to the washroom where you turn on the heater (ah, simple pleasures!) and start your morning ablutions. After that’s over, you come back to your room and check your mobile phone for any new notifications and there it is, a reminder for today’s guest lecture at 6 pm which of course you completely forgot. Cursing again, you abandon the bathing program for a quick shave and a facewash, hoping that your deodorant would see you through the day. After a few minutes and an errant cut on your lower jaw, you rush back to your room and start preparing for the case study in the first class and the lecture in the evening, because you know that you won’t have any last-minute preparation for that. At the same time, you somehow manage to dress up with some fresh clothes that you got yesterday from the laundry, spray a generous dose of deodorant that your nostrils have grown numb to, pack your bags and go for breakfast in the mess. You take the lift in a rush hoping that it won’t stop too much, and you eat what you can find, as you have to wait in line. After doing so, you read the news for the day (as you’re liable to be questioned for that, don’t ask why) and rush off to class which doesn’t have a decent air-conditioning system to ease the natural humidity of that place. And then you fill your water bottle to the brim with ice-cold water, because God knows that’s the only thing keeping you alive and awake.
Sounds a lot right? And this is just for the morning, that too on one of the “lazy days”.
So, in summary, you end up being submerged in your work to such an extent that you don’t have any opportunity (or any desire for that matter) to maintain an online presence, hence the underwater status.
For a person like me, for whom lethargy is a daily routine, going through all this was infuriating and frustrating, to say the least. Factor in my scatterbrained tendencies and a general lack of time management, and that leads to a wonderful explosive Acne dynamite kit melange, with myself being Wile E. Coyote, and the all-pervasive Time being the Road Runner. I guess I don’t need to explain the results.
B. Retreating into a Shell
This is also true in part due to the looming deadlines. You might feel like you don’t deserve this much work and you might want to go out and party (which you’re free to) but that illusion of choice and freedom is blown away like a dry autumn leaf as soon as you remember that all this is for getting a good internship opportunity so as to justify leaving your cushy job or the comforts of home (as the case may be) for this section of hell. When that happens, you start going into actual withdrawal situations, regardless of whether you used to drink or smoke or generally waste time by the truck-load (yes Instagram and 9GAG, I am looking at you both).
Also, as you reach the end of the trimester, when things start coming to a head, with multiple large assignments and intense interview preparation (after you’ve found some internship opportunities), you start talking less and less with the people you used to spend the maximum amount of time with before, which makes them start wondering if you still love them or not. This is quite possibly the toughest part of this entire stretch of time, and I’m not shitting you.
For me, I never had a girlfriend, so maybe I had it easy, but being unable to talk to my parents or my cousins on a daily basis was quite the heart-breaker. And I might be good at making friends in general, but when those new friends themselves are as busy as you are (and depending on their ego’s outward projections, even busier than you), you don’t have many others left to talk. Oh, how I wished I could be Dr. Doolittle! At the very least, I could’ve chatted with the two dog brothers lazing in the ground floor of my hostel.
C. Consuming Anything & Everything
Hermit Crabs can eat anything. I mean, literally anything.
They scrounge the ocean floor for whatever scraps and small creatures and inanimate objects they can find. They’ve even been known to eat poop. (eurgh!)
Of course, it’s not entirely true, but considering how many bucket-loads of midnight oil you burn, you are always hungry. Literally always. You always feel the craving to snack on something every 3 to 4 hours. And don’t even ask me on the days when you can’t sleep. Man, you’d be surprised as to how much you’ll start wishing you could magically summon a pitcher of hot tea or coffee.
And, coming to the “eating shit” part.
Yep, you read that right.
You have to be ready to take a lot of shit. Like, a LOT.
The way it works is that, once you get in, they assume you to be the perfect human being, so that they can mould you in that direction. And, by ‘mould’, what I really mean is striking you down with the force of many hammers to the point where you would break, but you shouldn’t. The reality is that you are constantly expected to dish out more than twice of what you can handle.
This is so true that we have this running joke between me and my batchmates that even if you die, you need to deliver the requisite files for the project by the deadline by any means possible. No excuses.
D. Adaptable & Flexible
I guess that’s what MBA is all about.
How to move with the flow.
Of course, I’m not a master in kung-fu or anything, but I can confidently say that I can pull my socks up for any sudden task or eventuality and get the job done, whether alone, or with others’ help.
The tricky part is that this comes only if you are open and willing to learn. It’s easier for hermit crabs to learn, because they’re smart enough to discern that they’ll most likely die if they don’t learn. And, historically, self-preservation has always been the strongest motivator.
For us, it’s quite similar, as not being able to get a job with a fat paycheck defeats the purpose of getting inside here in the first place, and is in some ways, a professional ‘end’.
However, for those who do learn, or are fortunate enough to take their heads out of their asses long enough to adapt quickly and learn (e.g. myself), this would be one of the richest life-learning experience that they would’ve had, and they’d be lying if they didn’t change has an individual after this.
I’m not lying, though. So all of this is true.
To be honest, I got really lucky in my summer internship interview, so here I am, back at my hometown, with an offer in hand (that I will obviously accept and go for, of course) and sipping a hot mug of cocoa while I’m typing this article chronicling my exploits, so to speak.
To be honest again, this was never meant to be preachy article, so I hope you’ve enjoyed going through my latest experiences in my MBA post-graduation.