Surviving Michaelmas Term

So it's been quite a while since our last post. Let me assure everyone though that this does not signify our lack of commitment. Quite on the contrary it is actually a direct result of it: we finished Michaelmas term and I suspect that we were all so tired from the hard work that we "passed out" and forgot how to spell. (that's my excuse and I am sticking to it!)
The good news is WE SURVIVED!!!!
And as I prepare myself for exams this week,"nostalgically" reviewing a term's worth of finance and accounting notes, I have been fondly thinking about the time so quickly gone by and all the grand things that I did... which lead me to consider how on earth I actually got all those things done without having a nervous breakdown???
So I decided to record what I think are aspects or common strategies for surviving the first term of a one-year MBA at Cambridge. I hope those of you with whom I shared the wonderful last three months can look at this and think "Ah yes! I remember doing that too! Hahaha, how I have grown!" And for those considering joining, do take note -- your mental health needs this information, even if your physical one doesn't.

1) Meet the class before classes starts. The first few pub outings where essential ice-breakers : even if you couldn't remember anyone's name afterwards...they remembered YOU!
2) Do not attempt to use the grand staircase before studying the entire building plan thoroughly. You will get sucked into a black hole if you ignore this and never ever make it to class. Use the elevator on the right side of the building instead.
3) Give up trying to remember the 5 different log-in names, 8 passwords and 29 websites you are suppose to check daily. Make friends with "responsible" people in class and have them inform you of all important notices.
4) Go to class. You don't want to be that "person who doesn't exist".
5) Make sure you have an accountant in your study group. If you don't, task someone besides yourself to become an accountant.
6) Bring a blanket to LT3 and iced-drinks to LT1, no matter what the temperature is outside
7) If you can 't find a suitable kick boxing class, use your study group to vent your stress and frustration. Just don't tell them that is what you are doing -- better be labelled mental than mean:)
8) Go to every possible finance recruiting/information event even if you are not interested in the topic. They always serve decent free food afterwards, crisis or no crisis!
9) Accept every possible formal hall or fancy dinner party invitation. Otherwise you will forget how to use a fork and how to dress sensibly. The everyday jeans and sandwiches do not reflect the real world!
10) Do prepare a "plan of attack" for your career search. You will probably not follow it but it will make you feel better knowing you tried... when you realise you don't have a job.
12) Find your favorite coffee place in Cambridge, check opening hours and get a loyalty card!
13) If you get a bicycle remember to get a helmet...and body armour to go with it.
14) Join rowing. Otherwise you will be envious of the people who wake up at 6:00am to go exercising in the freezing English mist and show up in class smelling like the Cam. (Really, that would make you more pathetic than them)
15) When playing Management Practice games remember that whatever you do and no matter how you excuse it, it IS personal!
16) There is only one Matriculation, one Halloween and one Christmas a year. Celebrate it at your college....and bribe colleagues to take you to theirs.
17) Join the student union. It's often quite relaxing to hear other people argue...I mean debate.
18) Go out after class and get drinks. Loads of drinks. Make Browns your second home!
19) If you go out to a bar and an attractive person becomes "friendly" with you, ask for their age immediately. Chances are he/she is WAY too young!
20) Lastly, no matter how cute they look, stay away from any ducks, geese, pigeons or bunnies. Animals in Cambridge do not like humans!

Please do add to this list if you remember anything else that can be relevant. I hope to make a guide for next year's class out of this.
And happy exam taking!



4 Responses to "Surviving Michaelmas Term"

Jenny Dean said... 6 January 2009 at 14:08

I love this! It has brought tears to my eyes of happy memories...

The only one I would add for the Michaelmas Term is to ensure that you regularly practice projecting your voice very loudly especially when having constructive debates in your CVP group. This is even more important for us women who have to try and be heard over those men and if you want to make sure that the whole building understand your viewpoint clearly.


ltj21 said... 8 January 2009 at 15:44

Things go really fast, so take advantage of every opportunity. Don't think you'll get a chance to do that again sometime... 'cos you probably won't...

Jen said... 13 January 2009 at 19:24

Apparently I just barely survived Michaelmas. I can't believe we're already into Lent and I am just getting caught up with the blog!

Alex, your list is hilarious and so, so accurate. To it I would add:

- Get a backpack. They are not exactly fashionable but unless you have a masseuse fund, you should use one. It will save you great pain.

- Try to stave off "event fatigue" for as long as possible. It will inevitably set in, but try to make it to as many events as you can stomach.

- Go to Enterprise Tuesday. These weekly lectures are basically a course in themselves, and celebrate the contagious entrepreneurial spirit of Cambridge.

Unknown said... 6 February 2009 at 21:17

Thanks...most of these points hold good for any university :)

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