The emancipation of the lab rats

About a week into the fourth quarter of my b-school experience, it dawned on me.

Darden had taken me off the wheel.

Me, for the first three quarters of the year

For the first three quarters of the year, I was running like a lab rat on a wheel. I knew exactly what I needed to do and where I needed to be every minute of the day. I couldn’t always get everything done, but I also didn’t have to do much prioritizing. Do the finance case or finish the strategy reading? Those were the kind of trade-offs I was weighing.

But now, it’s like the lab technicians who run Darden have opened up the cage door and set me free. I’m an emancipated lab rat, running in the wild — and I have no clue what to do.

Suddenly my classes are scattered across the day. I have group projects and, thus, group meetings that I have to find time to attend. And leadership roles that require even more meetings. And a social life. And, dear God, how do I juggle all of this?

The ironic thing is I used to juggle all these things quite well. In my old life as a responsible, wage-earning adult, I figured out how to balance work, meetings, a social life and community leadership.

So why couldn’t I remember how to do it now?

Oh yeah. Seven months of Darden programming. Seven months of “put your head down and do it.”

You could argue that seven months was a waste of time and led to the atrophy of my real-world skills. But I honestly don’t know how else I would learn so much so quickly. Without the focus and structure Darden provided, it would have been humanly impossible. For me, at least, it was a hugely productive time.

But I can’t live in that hyper-structured environment forever, no matter how productive it made me. So it’s a good thing Darden released me from my cage before it released me into the real world (i.e. my summer internship).


About missmba

What happens when a language-loving, mathphobic liberal arts major goes jumps on the MBA train. Follow my adventures at a top 20 business school.
This entry was posted in Career, Classes, Fun, Social life, Stress, Work life balance. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The emancipation of the lab rats

  1. Chad says:

    One plus about a rigid class schedule is that it helps you learn to organize the rest (internship, volunteering, etc.).

  2. Jyothi says:

    I just ran across your blog today. Congratulations on joining Darden School of Business. I’m planning on applying to business school in the near future. And so reading about your experiences at Darden has inspired me. I am equally fascinated by the tulip garden experience.

    I’ve been reading lots of MBA blogs recently and have a suggestion for how this blog can reach to many other needful B-school applicants. Beat The GMAT, which is a very active GMAT/MBA site, recently launched a blog directory ( to promote MBA blogs. If you add your blog to their blog directory, a lot more people like me will find your blog!

    Please keep posting great stuff!

  3. missmba says:

    Thanks for the tip, Jyothi! I registered with them today. If you have any questions about Darden or MBAs in general as you start your process, feel free to send me your email address. Good luck!

  4. Jyothi says:

    Thank you for helping me out. My email id is Could you please send me your E mail address. I am excited about Darden and would like to get to know your perspectives too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s