Saturday, August 06, 2005

Three days down, lots more to go 

So after months spent doing applications and more months waiting, the MBA experience has properly begun.

Day 1 started with an open air breakfast and lots of conversations along the lines of "Who are you? Where are you from? What do you want to do after school? Isn't it hot!" Or alternatively, "Good to see you again? What have you been doing over the summer? Where are you living? Isn't it hot!" Then we got to retreat to the air-conditioned comfort of a theatre auditorium for speeches from the Dean (see bskewl's thoughts on this), the University President, the Vice-Dean, and the President and Executive Vice-President of the Wharton Graduate Association. Next it was back to Huntsman Hall to pick up folders and course schedules, and wander round an information fair full of university and external organisations looking to offer us help and/or relieve us of our money. From there it was on to lunch with our cohort and an afternoon or orientation activities. As my cohort's timetable had a lunch break up until 2.30pm someone suggested that we orientate ourselves with somewhere serving marguerittas, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but possibly less so during the pre-term orientation that followed. Finally, pre-term orientated and campus scavenge hunted, it was back outside for dinner and more conversations similar to those over breakfast. I slipped off early to await the arrival or my bed, and got to spend a couple of hours inputting my timetable in to Outlook while waiting patiently for the delivery chap to arrive, only to get a phone call to say they were running late and did I want it delivered late that night or the following day? I opted for the latter.

Days 2 and 3 were the finishing off of initial orientation activities and the start of pre-term classes. I get to spend my mornings trying to follow maths in a lovely lecture theatre, the preservation of which's loveliness precludes the imbibing of caffeinated drinks within its walls
(unless you have caffeine reinforced water). The result of this is that by the end of the lectures my brain is really struggling to stay alert (I almost literally fell asleep during the section on logs, despite trying really hard to understand what was being said). MBA program staff are making a concerted effort to ensure thay we adhere to the 'concert rules' for classes (basically a code of acceptable behaviour), not always supported by the faculty (my pre-term Managerial Economics professor clearly isn't overly concerned by them). I transgresses on day 2 by being ten minutes late for my cohort orientation, but I did have a very good excuse, of which more below.

In and among all this I've been having a self-directed orientation with the healthcare service. When I dropped off my medical forms to student health they took one look at them, saw that I'd worked with a 'high risk group' and decreed that I needed a TB test. This wasn't unexpected. What was unexpected, was that when I went back to get the test checked I got questions about my travel history, a chest x-ray, a diagnosis of latent TB, a prescription for nine-months worth of antibiotics, and a good reason for being late to cohort orientation. Basically it seems that somewhere along the lines I've been exposed to a TB infection and my body's fought it off, but the result is that something now sits in my system. I don't have active TB and I'm not at all infectious, but if left untreated there's a 10% chance that it could 'activate' at some point. The antibiotics reduce that chance to 1%, and reduce my potential alcohol consumption to extremely moderate for the next nine months. I'm not one to get overly worried about this sort of thing anyway, but in among all the other changes and new routines that are happening at the moment, it's just feeling like one more thing to adjust to, like getting used to cooking temperatures in farenheit rather than celsius. And in a round about way it means that doing an MBA may have potentially saved my life (as I'd probably never have found out about it otherwise, unless I actually developed active TB), which is a comforting thought to reflect on when I contemplate loan repayments.

All in all, things are going good.


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