I know I said in my last post that I would blog next about prom, but I am going to renege on that and dive into a story from my Old Rag hike this past weekend. So that I am not letting anyone down, however, let me kick-off with a two-line recap. Prom was the first big mixer since the beginning of the year and was also the first time we haven’t all been in business attire at a function in a while. It was held at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria (a town worth a lazy afternoon sometime for sure). Now onto the hike this weekend...
I don’t know if any of you reading this post are currently living in the Mid-Atlantic, but if you are you already know that the weather was beautiful on Saturday (high 50s and sunny) and perfect for a hike. So beautiful, in fact, that I was “dunced” twice. First, I alerted everyone participating in the hike I led (14 joined in total) that they would need to purchase gloves and a hat for the summit if they hadn’t already because it would be cold at the top. Also, the peaceful, respite to nature at Old Rag I promised instead resembled something like a theme park at Shenandoah.
Old Rag Mountain is the most popular hike in Virginia for good cause. It is a beautiful, 2000 ft climb with plenty of challenges (read: rock scramble) and panoramic views (read: multiple false summits). Given that I planned this hike for mid-November, I assumed it would be lesser traveled than say a weekend in September. Boy, how wrong I was. Veteran’s Day this year the National Park Service waived entrance fees to all parks and the weather was beautiful. The reason I say it was like a theme park is because the number of people waiting in line to pass through the challenging parts reminded me of waiting for a roller coaster ride.
Another bizarre bit of the journey I want to share with you is our lunch on the summit with a soundtrack. One of my classmates and friend Ivan brought along his iPad that he used as a boom box while climbing (a hit during the queues along the trail). With a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the sun on our faces, we enjoyed lunch while listening to Russian rap – a unique experience to say the least.
Why am I telling you about a hike in a business school blog post you might be asking? It is because so much of the experience at business school is about more than the classroom and the job – it is about getting to know your classmates and discovering a healthy work-life balance.
The most rewarding part of the journey this past weekend was deepening my relationships with international students at McDonough. In a large group setting such as a classroom it is not easy to truly have a conversation with someone, and this is exaggerated when the other person does not share your native language. On the trail, however, there is ample time for a one-on-one conversation whereby the pace of speech is such that you understand one another very well. I am happy to have gotten to know friends from Turkey, Taiwan, China and Russia much better during the trip.
Also, the workload we encounter – especially at McDonough School of Business – is very demanding both in and outside of the classroom. Finding an opportunity during the weekday or on the weekends to carve out time for relaxation or reflection is critical to success. Some folks find that in happy hours or intramural sports. This past week some of my classmates and I found it on the mountain.
Next week I will tell you a bit about the volunteering efforts underway on campus. For now, enjoy this pic from Movember and feel free to search for my page on the official site.