Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why Not

試みる (kokoromiru) - To try or attempt

Last night, my dad took me to a Michigan basketball game. Michigan's basketball team has been pretty terrible for a long time and I can't remember the last time I watched them live, but they're doing really well this year so I thought I'd check it out. They were playing Eastern Michigan so it was pretty much guaranteed to be a blowout, but I thought it might be interesting all the same.

The tickets originally belonged to one of my dad's good friends, who had season tickets but couldn't make it to this particular game. They were for ok seats, nothing up in the nosebleed section, but not great.

Knowing that this wouldn't be a popular game, he figured there would be lots of empty seats closer to the action and decided we should try to snag some. I was a little reluctant to go sit in someone else's seat but agreed to take the chance, so we just walked in and sat down in a couple random seats in the 6th or 7th row. Anytime someone showed up with tickets for the spots we were in, we would just shift a couple seats down. This happened a couple of times, but we ultimately ended up around row 10, rather than row 33 which our tickets were for.

My dad has always had a very strong "why not?" approach to life - if it seems like a decent idea or doesn't have a significant downside, why not at least give it a try? Sure it was a bit of a hassle and a little uncomfortable at times, but we ended up with way better seats, seats which would have sat empty anyway. It was a great reminder that there are often benefits out there that can be yours if you're just willing to take them. Many of us, myself included, can be too timid and feel a little awkward or embarrassed stepping beyond the clear cut rules, but there is lots to be gained by trying. Value gets left on the table unclaimed all the time, simply because no one is willing to reach out and grab it. Nobody is going to just give it to you but all you have to do is ask, so why not?

As expected, Michigan dominated the game. But, even though it wasn't much of a contest, there was still some great action, much of which happened at our end of the court. It probably still would have been a good time back in our original seats, but it was definitely a better experience closer up. I'm glad my dad convinced me to give it a shot.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Phase One

繋がり (tsunagari) - Connections, ties

Wednesday was my last exam of the semester, meaning I am official on winter break. Given that, it seems like as good a time as any to reflect back on my time at Haas this far.

The way I see it, the four semesters of an MBA correspond with four phases of the MBA experience:
Phase 1: Get to know people
Phase 2: Get a summer internship
Phase 3: Get a full time job
Phase 4: Go out with a bang

I am currently at the end of Phase 1, which I would consider an absolute success. I've honestly gotten to know the majority of my classmates pretty well and shared some awesome experiences with them. Perhaps more importantly, I've been fortunate enough to have a few of them become truly great friends.

Every time a new stage of life begins, there is an opportunity to build incredibly strong relations with the people around you. I'm very much a few-close-friends kind of guy and life has been good about putting a few really awesome people in the same place as me wherever I go. Haas is maintaining that pattern quite nicely.

I recently had a dinner party with some of my favorite people here and it was glorious. We ate delicious food, we drank food wine, we talked and laughed for hours. It was the kind of night that makes you thankful for having such great friends. It was a reminder of how good life can be.

Next up is five weeks of winter break,. The first half will be spent with friends and family, reconnecting with my Midwest roots. From there, I set off to explore Central America with a bunch of my classmates. I fully expect it to be a magnificent adventure full of incredible stories to tell.