AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Monday, August 16, 2004

Getting my study game face back

Over the last 3-4 days, I’ve been struggling with trying to get my game on again with regards to focusing on my studies. The rooms at school I've been studying at for the last month are just plain hot and humid now so it’s been very hard to focus. So, I’ve been trying various other areas to get productive. Today, for the first time in 3 weeks, I felt somewhat proud of myself in terms of my productivity. To focus better, I’ve had to resort to a little timer set at 1 hr intervals to help me stay focused. “Don’t do anything but study for that one hour,” I would tell myself.

Self-discipline and minimizing distraction is a life long battle. I think the effort of studying for the GMAT and doing my last class put me at a bit of burnout that has taken me quite a bit of work, rest and re-focus to get past. There is nothing like setting a few goals in a day and laying your head down on the people knowing that you completed each task. For the last 3 weeks, I haven’t been doing this. It’s been hard, but I’ve started to do this again. One goal that I set for myself recently was to figure out how to get good coaching in the important projects I have going on in my life. Like my class, GMAT prep, MBA App process and physical exercise. It seems to me that if the Olympic athletes use coaches to strive for the best out of themselves, why shouldn’t I use that same philosophy whenever possible in my own life? So I’ve done that. I sort of did this throughout my life, but due to the seriousness of the outcome of the things I’m working on, I decided to take a stance and have this be the case for all the big project tasks. Without going into details, I’ve found “coaches” that I’ve started working with in each of these areas. With some, I’ve already started working with them. With others, I’m working out arrangements to get these going. This has definitely helped my motivation a lot these last few days.

I haven’t Blogged in awhile because I was trying to minimize the distractions in my life so that I could get my study game face back on. I think I’m just about there. But, because of the amount of thinking and struggles I’ve been going through, I decided to come back and write about it so as to solidify my thoughts better. I envy the person who can push through and keep going consistently. I recall a statement of wisdom I heard a few days ago, “We need to behave like how we want to feel and the feelings will then follow. Many have this mixed up and think that we wait till we feel like doing something before we actually do it.”

One example of a good coaching result is with my GMAT studies. My coach has helped me to see that my Quant studies are relying too heavily on my ability to memorize content. He’s helped me to get the beginnings of some structure to help me to approach the questions with a “structured process” that helps me to see concepts of the content. I’m practicing that now. I’m going through a major paradigm shift in my study approach and it’s not easy making the adjustment. However, I already see some improvement.

There is only one problem that I cannot overcome. The problem is the need for sleep. I lost count of how many times I daydreamed about how I wished I didn’t have to sleep to get more done in a day. I know, I know… sleep is very important to our rhythm of life. I just wish I could turn off the need for sleep switch in my body for about a month every so often.

I’ll continue my summary of the meeting with my UCLA friend. For the essays, we talked about some things I have done in my life and how they might show my qualifications as a great MBA candidate. Since we have been friends for a long time, I didn’t need to describe them very much. I just had to describe my take on them and then hear his critique. Long story short, he summarized where some areas of my life were average in comparison to other MBA candidates, but helped me to see some areas that stuck out as out of the ordinary positive additions to my essays. He premised all this by reminding me of the following guidelines.
1) Every school wants to see what my added benefit to them will be. In other words, if they accept me, they want to be able to say that what I’m doing or have done are the kinds of things that make both myself and the school look good.
2) Are the things I describe differentiators? What things have I experienced or done in my life that show my courage, risk-taking, initiative and leadership that is clearly not average. But the number one thing he pointed out was for me to find those examples in my life that showed I would be a person who would continue to making long lasting contributions to society.

The last point really caught my interest and gave me more confidence towards my application because we found quite a few examples. He told me how this thing or that thing I had done in my life were interesting and positive contributors to society. This was a huge help.

I think it would be a good idea to contact 3 or 4 other close friends that I’ve known for a long time to give me feedback about interesting and positive societal contributions that impress them. Then I think I’ll have a good foundation to use for my essays when I begin to write them.

Lastly, more FMR resources added
Aug 16, 2004
· Added article More Jobs and Better Pay Greet 2004 Grads—Article about how HAAS MBA grads are doing on the job market—July 2004
· Added ARCO—Maker of the GMAT Prep Book. Free online test and study tips.
· Added Axxent—Online timed GMAT Quant test-Study prep company.
· Added GMATBuster—GMAT Test Prep Company. Free online GMAT Quant and Verbal Test


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