February 2017

Managing Stress teaser image
Business School brings people from different walks of life. Some leave high-paying investment banking jobs while others resign from dangerous, exciting engineering professions. Yet others leave the honorable teaching profession to come back to school themselves. The question is WHY? Many people come to get higher paying jobs. Others come to upgrade their skills and become better leaders. Yet others come to take a break from the rat race, enjoy the college experience again, and perhaps do a bit of soul searching. Then starts the torture!

It has been less than a month in this semester, and we have been assigned over a thousand pages of reading, numerous assignments deliverables, research projects, and for some of us, the job search process is still going on. While in undergraduate it was alright to perform badly in some subjects, business school takes away that opportunity. Obtain a D and a GPA of less than 3.0, and you might as well be packing your bags. It is a stressful situation indeed.

I do not know what my scores will be. However, I have been referred to as a relaxed person. I fare well in school, am still searching for an internship, and have a bunch of things on my plate. Yet, I remain positive and smiling. Does it come naturally to me? It does not. I have had to train hard to remain calm and composed, and not let the pressure get the better of me. Today, I plan to share some of the practices that I use to get this done:
  • Friends Forever: I have very good friends. The trick to remain positive in times of stress is to surround yourself with friends who have a positive mentality. I share my problems with my friends, and in turn, listen to their struggles. I genuinely care for my friends and know that they care for me. This helps build a support system that keeps us strong and ready to face the challenges that life offers.
  • List It Out: Our brains are sharp, but nothing beats listing out the deliverables in front of you. You can use pen and paper, or a computer, but once things are listed out, you get a sense of how much time things will take. You will feel even better once you start scratching completed items off the list. This will give you a dopamine rush (the same thing that happens when you eat junk food, work out, or watch multiple episodes of Game of Thrones) and you will look forward to accomplishing tasks and scratching them off the list.
  • Exit Light, Enter Night: I do not sleep more than three to four hours a night. Yes, I know it is unhealthy. If you need health tips, go watch Emily Skye’s videos. I am here to tell you how to survive business school stress. I do not sleep a lot and try to maximize my time. However, on a weekend, or after a test, I sleep twelve hours and replenish my sleep quota. Yes it hurt a little when I started, but I have been doing this since undergraduate days. Coffee is my best friend.
  • It’s All In The Tummy: I have seen that good food can relieve stress. By good food, I am not talking about healthy food. I am talking about food that makes me happy. I am not saying that I eat bad food all the time, but when I am especially down, a big Burrito does the trick. Sometimes I do not eat junk food in times of stress, but keep it pending as a reward. I work hard, and after the test is over, I bring a Burrito home, take a cold shower, eat my Burrito while watching House of Cards, and then take my twelve hour nap. This is my cheat/reward day.
  • Hit The Lights: My friends know that I love to party. They also know that I do not party much. I wish I were in undergraduate school, and had the time to party relentlessly. But I don’t! That is a fact. However, I utilize this to my advantage. When I can take the time out, I do like to hit the bars and clubs, usually once a month or less. But when I do, I go hard. I blow off steam and start the day fresh, and ready to take on the world.
  • Cleanse The Soul: I am able to survive lack of sleep, junk food, and heavy partying because I have a clear conscience. I make sure that I do all that I could have done, so that I do not have a sense of guilt. It is a beautiful feeling to have a heart that is not heavy with guilt of what I could have done or should have done. This makes me approach things with a positive frame of mind and thus I get to smile for another day.
  • Keep The Faith: I believe in a higher power. I do not know if that is Krishna, Allah, Jesus, Physics, or Karma. I just believe that there is a higher being who does things and that I am just a pawn in his or her game. I am supposed to do my duty and not bother too much about the outcome. I am spiritual rather than religious. This, mingled with the motto of Live and Let Live, helps me accept things as they are and live to fight another day.
I am no expert, and have never claimed to be one. However, these habits, practices, and beliefs that I mentioned have helped me survive. It works for me, and I am not saying that it will work for you. However, what you must know before coming to business school is that it will be a grueling time, and you will need faith, confidence, and inner peace to reach the end of the tunnel. When you do reach the end, and step into the light, you will be able to look back, and be happy about the great times that you spent in one of the most rewarding phases of your life!

Arjun Chakrabarti | MBA

Arjun is an MBA student with an intense love for music, travel, scuba diving, tattoos and public speaking.

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