This weekend marked the end of my first quarter of graduate school. We spent 4 days on Bainbridge Island giving presentations, pulling late nights of last minute changes to projects, laughing and crying with our LPD classmates, and pulling together lessons from the past four months. It has been quite a ride, but all of it a tremendously valuable process.
This intensive was 180 degrees in the positive direction for me compared to last month. Adding in graduate school in general is a big transition, but on top of that, BGI is such a unique, rich animal I was not even sure how to process all it was giving me. First off, I found the classes to be interesting, but nothing really all that new or challenging. We were also digging really deep into leadership and personal development, and this combination of approaches really challenged me and my mental image of what “grad school” was supposed to look like.
Ultimately, it pushed me over the edge in November. I was seriously doubting is BGI was the right school for me, and was questioning if I was getting out of it what I wanted. This forced me to act fast, and talk to as many people as possible about what I wanted, what I was not getting, and how to forge a path in a direction that would work for me. My struggle was embraced by more support that I could have dreamed possible. Professors and students, even some I did not know, offered support and insight and strategies to help me confront my challenges, and ultimately decide on whether this was the right place for me to be.
The result was amazing. I gained so much clarity around what I wanted to get out of this program, and this stage in my life, that I was able to approach work, school and home with more intention and direction than ever before. All while surrounded by a sense of calm because I knew where I fit into the picture, and understood the strength of the network around me. I could not be in a more perfect place.
Our major team project hurdled towards the finish line (a 20 minute presentation) with some last minute challenges that really rocked our confidence. At the intensive, we had to redesign almost everything we had planned to present, and ultimately came away with a decent presentation, but nowhere near our expected level performance. Even with two sleepless nights and stressful days dealing with project ambiguity, this intensive was incredibly restoring. I intentionally made contact with people that I had never spoken to, and shared long, deep conversations with many of them. We were all practicing our non-attributive compliments and appreciations, and the feedback that I both shared and received was incredibly nourishing.
I left the weekend with a sense of calm. Of direction. Of peace. Of excitement for next quarter.
And of complete exhaustion and over-stimulation. Yep…BGI is exactly where I need to be.