The Importance Of Taking A Break In B-School
“I mark the hours, every one, nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use and value, unto you, are gauged by what you have to do.”
These are the words inscribed on the Time Turner, a special device in the Potterverse which is used to Time Travel. And as much as we waited for our Hogwarts letter to appear when we turned eleven, we know we belong in the muggle world, which does not authorise the use of Time Turners, even for “academic purposes”. But, here’s the thing – we want what we cannot have and we think we can get it by pretending that we have it, and thus b-school students play the game of daring that elusive foe, Time. B-School is a fascinating, terrifying place which is so fast paced, it makes you wish you had more time, so you could make sure that everything’s perfect. Then, there comes a point when that reassurance you give yourself about your capacity to do everything pushes you to pursue that chase to catch up with time, particularly when your routine follows a non-exaggerated version of the following:
Deadlines. Phone calls. Meetings. Classes. Eat. Socialise. Sleep. Repeat.
“Sometimes we need to take a break from all the noise to appreciate the beauty in the silence.”- Robert Tew
The above is to bring us to the part that we often forget how true maturity is what happens when you learn to give your attention to things that are attention worthy. You are, of course, the decider of what is attention worthy, and you will be defined by what you consider worth fighting for, whether that is your grades, your internship, your extracurriculars, networks or relationships. Sometimes it’s possible that without even realising it ourselves, we try too hard. Here lies the problem – the dissonance between what we want and what we’re expected to want. The insidious maze is easy to get lost into and really, there’s mostly just one answer – it’s time for a break, even if that means you telling yourself that you’re not indifferent, it means you’re comfortable with putting your equanimity first.
Mark Manson once said in his unconventionally thought-provoking book, “We’re apes. We think we’re all sophisticated with our toaster ovens and designer footwear, but we’re just a bunch of finely ornamented apes.” We don’t exactly know what we want at a given time or we do what we say we don’t want but we definitely want what everyone else wants. We want so much that we forget one of the most important jargons of MBA life, i.e, opportunity cost or the cost of the next best alternative foregone. So, in essence, lots of us compromise on sleep or maintaining a healthy relationship with family, among others because our brain is now wired to tell us to pursue those things that make us feel better about ourselves, it’s the magnetic pull of the need for validation. But maybe for some of us, the truth ends up becoming far less interesting, as he puts it: “The truth is, I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story. I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory.”
It is the people who can say the above that I now congratulate. Because it takes courage to break free from the crowd, take a good look at yourself in the mirror and say: I want to be a little less self-centric, because there comes a point when you realise that our need for entitlement is simply not worth the lack of a little more life in our living. The thing about standing in high places is that we cannot seem to stop wanting more, that wonderful rush of accomplishment – sometimes, not just at the expense of the people around us, but to ourselves. So, we inadvertently end up spending so much time oblivious to what we think doesn’t concern us and in reality, we’re not even really thinking about ourselves.
So why do the supposedly best brains of the country behave that way? A common and visible thread would be the insecurities any well-meaning aspiration tows along, like the flip side of a coin. Here’s where we can do to reduce its sway- airing them out, to ourselves, before anyone, even a confidante.
“Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.”
Once you’ve done that, you’ll often find how altered your vision of yourself and your purpose is, because what you do means so much to you, that clarity of any kind is a treasure in its own right. And, there are different ways to come to that realisation. Play a game, where you don’t care about the outcome, or be a part of a celebration you would never have been otherwise. Go on that weekend trip and let yourself loose. Or go home, to that familiarity that brings you to your senses. But move around, have human interaction. Break monotony. Get your priorities straight, unlike Hermione, who said, “We could have gotten killed, or worse, expelled”.
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