“I am so glad that I paid R125, 000 to meet friends like you, because it was worth every cent” – that was my toast to my class on my 27th birthday last month.

We recently had a three-week break from class. However, being a part-time student means that a holiday from university actually only means a holiday in the evening as you still have your day job.

The holiday began when the magical words “time is up” were said after a daunting cost accounting exam (after economics and operational research earlier in the week). We agreed to have a 30 minute-vent session about the exam and then quenched our thirst at our favourite hang out place. It was time to start the holidays.

One of the many things that the MBA has taught me is not to procrastinate. It is really fascinating how much one can do when one puts one’s mind to it. Over the weekend, I compiled a list of the admin things that I had wanted to sort out during my time off. Needless to say, I managed to do it in two days. I was grateful it was done, but thought that maybe I should have only done one thing a day to keep myself occupied as I was not sure what else to do with my time off in the evenings. I had prepared well for work and was up to date. I had also done some course preparation for the first two weeks of class and yet I still had time on my hands.

Eventually, I gave in and enjoyed life as it was pre-MBA… sleeping late at the weekend, seeing friends and family, watching rugby, attending multiple networking functions and generally having fun. It really was a great time off. However, after three weeks of this, I was beginning to get apprehensive and wanted to start studying again.

As part of our learning journal for leadership, a theme we are encouraged to write about is how we deal with the fact that we are changing whilst everyone else in our world remains the same. This is something I find myself confronting more than I anticipated. The MBA has opened my life and now I want to study, learn, meet influential people and make a difference in the world.

Being back in class brought a sense of relief, although I confess I was nervous once again about doing an MBA as I had slipped out of my former routine. However, having such great, like-minded people in my class made the transition smoother.

It really is a difficult concept to grasp that these individuals who you would have never met, if it had not been for the MBA, know you better than your friends and family. They are the only ones who truly understand what you are going through, they are the only ones who have the same busy mind churning millions of ideas at once and they are the only ones that live through your every moment of growth with you.

These strangers have already become some of my best friends and we are only seven months into our two-year MBA programme. As one lecturer pointed out to us, networking during MBA is as important as studying, because in our class are potentially future leaders and we can make a difference together.

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