Featured photo by © Lindsay Hite / www.readyluck.com
When we started at Carey, we were both expecting a worthwhile experience, but neither of us realized that one of the biggest rewards we would walk away with, other than our well-earned MBAs, would be a wonderful friendship. But that is exactly what happened. It wasn’t a friendship that grew overnight, but instead, one that developed over time.
Graduate school can be a daunting experience. For some, it involves moving to a new state, or even a new country, and then you add to the mix a higher level of independence and fast-paced curriculum. All of these must be juggled with the demands of jobs, volunteer organizations, and family and friends. So the last thing on many people’s minds is forming friendships. Indeed, many students focus on finding the balance between their new courseload and the obligations they already have that they overlook the opportunity to form friendships with their new classmates.
For some, the thought that graduate school could be a place to form friendships may seem unnatural. In your mind, you’re competing with your classmates for that coveted “A,” but class time is so much more than just grades. It’s about an experience and that experience can only be enriched if you open yourself up to the people around you. Rhianna sings, “we found love in a hopeless place” and strange as it sounds, her words ring true in the world of grad school.
For us, it was in statistics where we found our ‘love’ – friendship. We had both been out of school for nearly five years, we both held full time jobs and had family obligations. Life was full to say the least. And making friends wasn’t high on our to-do list when we started the program. Instead, we had a get-in/get-out mentality: we would take our classes, work hard, and hopefully learn and enjoy our work along the way. But to our surprise, the person sitting a few seats over in statistics class would turn out to be a great friend and support system.
With the many challenges of starting graduate school, at times it can feel like a hopeless place. But those around you, your classmates, might just be the people to help you get through the tough times. So start looking around the classroom because one of your colleagues just may be that friend you didn’t know you wanted. After all, who better to understand what you are going through than someone in similar shoes?