Now that Mini 1 has come to an end, I thought I would take some time to reflect on Mini 1 as a first year vs. second year because my experiences were completely different.
I’m not sure if Mini 1 last year was the toughest mini but it definitely falls in the Top 3. I came to Tepper thinking the program would be easy. For me, undergrad was a breeze in comparison to high school. I assumed grad school would be the same since I had done my undergrad in business as well. Prior to Tepper, I had been working full-time and studying part-time and had no issues with time management so I figured studying full-time would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong!
Last year, the moment I submitted my corporate strategy final, my last final for Mini 1, I felt relief followed by the urge to go out and party with my classmates immediately. Between juggling 5 courses, junior board responsibilities for 4 clubs, attending social events, and sleeping, there was no free time; it felt like Mini 1 would never end. It was stressful because I was new to Pittsburgh, my apartment was not the nicest of places, I didn’t know what I wanted to recruit for, and I didn’t understand what my 2nd years meant when they said “grades don’t matter”. I only have 2 years here and want to make the most of it and as a result I took on too much and was just another clueless first year walking through the halls of Tepper. It’s not a bad thing because everyone goes through the clueless phase before they finally find their groove.
The Mini 1 break was just what I needed to recharge. Going home for the first time since moving to Pittsburgh made me realize how many people were proud of me for going to Tepper. Then the grades started rolling in and I finally understood what “grades don’t matter” meant! For those of you wondering, it just means that you do better than you think. I went on the Austin trek with the GEC right before Mini 2 started which helped me remember what mattered most to me. I came back to Pittsburgh with a new focus and perspective that I didn’t have during Basecamp or Mini 1.
Fast forward to today, and I can say Mini 1 as a second year was a blast! My experience was a complete 180. I wasn’t any less busy; I was taking 5 courses, TAing a course, continuing my summer internship part-time, recruiting for full-time positions, handling my GBA responsibilities, AND still getting sleep. With so much going on, I was calm, relaxed and enjoying life. If you had told me that I would be this chill last year, I would have laughed at you but even my friends noticed I was different this time around. I am confident that I will do well in my classes and that I will get the perfect job for me. I don’t know if the difference came from living on my own since this summer or if the experience from the past year just made me that much better at managing things. Whatever the reason, I feel like I am in control and I’m not worried. This is what I envisioned my Tepper experience would be like and I was right, just one year later.
Tepper does get easier; you just need to be patient and give yourself the time to get there. All of this is part of the Tepper experience so embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from it. I did!