Death Valley + MBA Studies: The Struggle is Real

At the encouragement of not one but two new acquaintances met while “vacationing” (ha ha, we’ll get to why that’s funny in a moment) in Death Valley, California, I am taking a break from my mba studies and writing this post.

Pretty Views in Death Valley & My MBA Studies Finish Line – Where is the Balance?

They thought it fascinating that I, a chaperone on my 8th graders class trip to Death Valley, am in fact a dedicated enough student that I will post up on the porch of the Furnace Creek General Store with my laptop (and Samsung Galaxy Note plugged into it for maximum device charging on the one DC plug that’s available for my usage) and study late hours into the night to meet the requirements of my classes.

I’m sitting cross legged with my laptop perched on the side of my foot on a stone cold floor next to the wall reading and typing and thinking and trying to hold studies

You don’t even want to hear about the 10 hour drive down to Death Valley and my moment of desperation charging my laptop in the ladies room of the Flyers gas station off CA-99 S. We stopped there so I could upload a PDF version of my text book to my phone so I could get some reading done on the trip down.

I’m at Negotiating with Myself

Honestly, I don’t know if its fascinating or outright crazy, but with 2 months to go there are two things I promised myself:

  1. To not question my sanity until after I graduate
  2. To drink as much coffee as much as my little heart desires, day or night.

The truth is, my professor’s likely don’t care all that much if I’m sitting on the moon. They warned us during orientation to “kiss our lives good-bye” for the next 2 years of mba studies. And my colleagues (all 32 of the others in my cohort) likely are going through their own flavor of the struggle to hold on — “through thick and thin” and finish out UH’s dlE-MBA program strong (OK maybe not strong) themselves.

Sometimes to Find Balance, We Must Juggle

So the point here isn’t to argue that I deserve any special treatment, favors, pity or sympathy. Merely, to record this experience of being at the base of a large challenge and seeking to overcome it through the power of perseverance. Must not stop, must not give up, must be OK with the seemingly endless juggling of my life.


Juggling others expectations, opinions, desires and frustrations with me. I have never felt more limited, never felt I had to let so many down to simply not let myself down. Maybe “juggling” is the wrong word. Maybe “mba studies fire dancing” would be a more accurate term.

On a positive note, it’s a 10-year “super bloom” of wildflowers in Death Valley, and the scenery is fantastic. Read about the super bloom here. And my son is pretty happy I’m here to go rock climbing the canyons with him.

Thanks for reading and if this didn’t scare you out of attending graduate business school, maybe you’re ready for the experience. Or maybe you’re just crazy.

‘Til next time ~ A hui ho

Worst part about grad school

The worst part about grad school is the stress my personal relationships undergo as I attempt to give my best to my #MBA program.

People who have not gone to grad school, or attempted to go to graduate school simply have no idea what you mean when you express living on the edge of sanity…wait, let me correct that, people that have not attempted grad school while working full time at a J.O.B.,  raising children, keeping the house somewhat tidy, and feeding/caring for oneself, day after day after day, weekends included — they just cannot imagine. And what they cannot imagine, is hard for them to relate to… and when they can’t relate, unfortunately,  the compassion/understanding meter declines precipitously.

They just do not have any frame of reference to compare it to… they think their lives are hard with just a full-time job and family. It is a GRIND. For one to two years of your life (22 months if you are in the #Shidler College of Business distance learning EMBA at #UHManoa).  Your peeps may do their best to be understanding and supportive (or not), but they simply do not understand the emotional, physical and mental challenges you are facing just to stay in the program and keep up with your classes, so they tend to not give you the amount of compassion or understanding you may feel you deserve.

I am a fairly positive person, but the sheer amount of willpower it has taken to repeatedly say “No” to spending time with friends, going on outings, traveling, or simply kicking back and catching up on the latest episode of my new favorite show #Vikings — for me to score well in my classes, it can wear on even the most resilient person.

I just realized there is one huge upside to this… I have HAD to get much better at saying “No.” Not only to invitations, but also to people who want to bring drama into my life, situations  that are high-maintenance or have any element of drama…  wait, I just realized, that is a FANTASTIC upside.

Lesson Learned: Clear out #toxicpeople and situations from my life, quickly and decisively. It’s all about me right now, and that’s OK!

I hope you enjoyed this post about my experience #survivinggradschool, if you can relate, please like and share 🙂