How has COVID-19 affected you as MBA student?
After working for four years in India’s educational industry, I finally decided to pursue an MBA program at DeGroote. Like many other students, I hadn’t planned on taking the courses online and not meeting my peers and professors. At the very beginning of the program, I remember sitting, studying with my friends in the library, and taking short walks around the campus after finishing group work almost every night. I almost felt that the four white walls surrounded me during the quarantine while trapped within my laptop and phone’s technological void. The word that I often used to describe myself for the first couple of weeks was ‘stuck.’ I never felt so stuck in my life! However, I soon realized there is so much more that can be done and achieved during these times. I turned this quarantine into a moment of opportunity for myself. Honestly, it did require me to modify my schedule and prioritize my activities more carefully.
How do you prioritize your activities?
Now, as the sun shines through my window, I rub my eyes, water my little plants, and start my day. Yes, gardening is one of the hobbies that I picked up during COVID-19. Right after breakfast, I open my monthly planner to check the day’s schedule. My monthly planner is a master file that details monthly activities and then further breaks those activities into weekly and daily goals. I begin my day in my office and work to accomplish my daily goals. In the evening, I talk to my parents and my loving husband. The discussions are almost limited to COVID-19, but I cherish those moments with them.
How do you stay healthy?
COVID-19 has uprooted the lives of all, including mine, and we must take control of things that we have influence over, for example, wellness. I believe in the importance of physical and mental health. I make sure to eat a healthy diet that feeds my body with good nutrition and take time to run or cycle (with music on) to work out everyday life. I try to strike a balance between my professional and personal life by managing my health and enjoying my ‘me’ time. If I don’t, these stressors build up in my system and lead to various problems, so I proactively take good care of myself.
What/who inspires you?
During this educational journey, my parents, husband, peers, and mentors have supported me throughout. This support system has motivated me to achieve more. The first year flew by like a breeze! I can’t quantify how much I have learned in the program but can say that I have improved my technical and soft skills. I have always believed that to thrive at the academic level and be a successful leader at the workplace, one needs to be open to learning. I have met so many people in all these years and interacted with them. I don’t even remember a day when I haven’t learned something – maybe a story, about some new technology, a news headline, or simply a new song. I find inspiration in various people and things; however, I would have to say the person who inspired me the most has been my mother. I call her my superwoman! I try to be like her as much as I can! She always has a smile on her face, no matter how hard she works. A smile is needed more than ever during these difficult times!
I understand that this is not the most ideal situation for all of us, especially those who are thousands of miles away from their families. But no matter how dark things may get, there will always be light to guide us through the dark moments. I am unsure what a ‘new normal’ looks like, but I am grateful to expand my potential and be healthy. This too shall pass!