DailyRi 020: How I'm Approaching My Second Semester at Ross

LAST WEEK, I STARTED MY SECOND SEMESTER AT THE ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS.

 
IMG_3D411663A293-1.jpeg
 

i’m a super lucky girl. yes, i said lucky. i know i busted my a$$, but i also know that the stars had to align. sure, i deserve credit for where i am, but god deserves more credit. & i know i deserve to be here, but only if i make it count. which is why i like reminding myself that i’m super fortunate. & my way of expressing gratitude for all i’ve been given is by giving back tenfold. that’s why i’m pursuing this degree after all.

my first semester was awesome. it was a lot, though. left me reflecting on so many things. at some point over break, i was supposed to post a super enlightening blog post about the lessons i learned during my first semester, & i still will soon, but not right now. right now i’m busy thinking about what’s next.

but what i will say is that my first semester was a trial semester. they try to warn us maynnnnnnn. they give us all sorts of metaphors to describe how fast-paced & overwhelming an mba program can be like “drinking out of a firehose” or my personal favorite “being pulled by the strongest current you’ve ever experienced in a nutrient-dense riverbank & trying to figure out how you’re going to gather as many minerals as possible before being pulled along.” sounds dramatic, but i promise you. it’s true af.

& if i’m good at nothing else, i’m good at listening to the advice of those who’ve experienced something before me. i listened intently, & so my first semester mba game-plan was pretty simple yet pretty ambitious:

1- PROTECT MY PEACE AT ALL COSTS

2- STAY LASER FOCUSED ON MY “WHY”

3- SAY “YES” TO EXPERIENCES/OPPORTUNITIES THAT CHALLENGE ME TO GROW INTO THE LEADER I KNOW I NEED TO BE, ESPECIALLY IF THEY MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE

i was successful at all three, so i was really happy with how i closed out my last semester.

i want to be happy with how i close out my first year, so i did some deep reflection over the break, & here is my game-plan for semester two:

1- lean into my strengths & de-prioritize my weaknesses

here are my strengths: vivid visualization of a longterm vision, radical optimism, intense self awareness & ability to empathize, creative problem solving, persuasive communication, storytelling, storytelling, storytelling.

i am going to lean into these things. 90% of my time will be spent further exploring the possibilities that exist within these skillsets. these are the criteria that i will use to inform my business school strategy - from classes to extracurriculars to recruiting for internships. i have already blocked off time on my calendar devoted to building these strengths, & i’m so excited about how unapologetic i am about this.

i would list out my weaknesses but that would violate my game-plan. i have a whole lot of weaknesses, but honestly, i really don’t care anymore. i’ve never tried to pour everything into my strengths, & something tells me i’ll get really far using this approach. in order to do that though, i’ll need to let a whole lot of things fall on a permanent back-burner. huge sighs of relief tbh. i'll talk more about this later.

2- ANN ARBOR IS JUST MY MEANS TO dearborn

truthfully, 75% of the reason i chose to attend ross over other top programs in the nation is because it would enable me to engage with my dearborn (arab/muslim) community while i was still in school. when i was applying to schools, dearborn kept tugging at my heart, & i didn’t really know why. i listened though, because that was right around the time i started trusting my intuition. i’m so glad i did. shortly thereafter, i made the controversial decision to commute to school every day from dearborn (a 90 minute total commute on a good day) because something told me the extra few hours of dearborn community engagement each week would be important to me.

that commute has been an absolute game-changer in grounding me in my purpose, helping me protect my peace after a long week of classes, & enabling me to engage my community in deeply meaningful ways.

i’m leaning into this too, & i am going to be much more intentional about this engagement this semester. with the scholarship, the dearborn girl podcast i’m starting, & who knows what else, it’s looking like dearborn is going to require a lot more of my time.

3- “SEARCH FOR new wAYS”

IF YOU’VE READ PRETTY MUCH ANY OF MY POSTS, YOU KNOW THAT MY DAD WAS (& STILL IS) MY PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL MENTOR. IT’S BEEN SUPER HARD DOING BUSINESS SCHOOL/TRYING TO DEVISE A PLAN TO CHANGE THE WORLD WITHOUT HIM HERE. BUT EVERY NOW & THEN, GOD SENDS ME SIGNS TO GUIDE ME. I HAVEN’T SEEN ONE OF THOSE IN A WHILE, SO TWO NIGHTS AGO, I PRAYED FOR A SIGN THAT BABA’S STILL WITH ME.

THE NEXT MORNING, I VISITED MY AUNT (HIS SISTER) AT WORK. SHE IS THE PRINCIPAL OF A LOCAL MIDDLE/ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. PLASTERED ACROSS HER OFFICE IS A QUOTE THAT I LATER REALIZED WAS UTTERED BY MY FATHER DURING A SPEECH TO EDUCATORS IN THE COMMUNITY ON THE IMPACT THEY CAN HAVE ON OUR YOUTH:

“IT IS WHEN YOU SMILE AT A CHILD; IT IS WHEN YOU LISTEN WITH YOUR WHOLE BODY & SIMPLY HEAR// IT IS WHEN YOU ADVOCATE// IT IS WHEN YOU RAISE EXPECTATIONS// IT IS WHEN YOU GUIDE & SEARCH FOR NEW WAYS// TO TEACH & REACH// YOU ARE THE ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE// YOU ARE THE LIGHT IN A DARK TUNNEL// YOU ARE THE HOPE FOR A HOPELESS CHILD.”

OF THE MILLION PROFOUND MESSAGES TO TAKE AWAY FROM HIS ALWAYS POETIC WORDS, THE PART THAT STRUCK ME MOST WAS “SEARCH FOR NEW WAYS.” ANY IMPACT I HAVE MADE HAS INVOLVED THIS IDEA OF “NEW SOLUTIONS TO OLD PROBLEMS.” AS A MATTER OF FACT, THOSE WERE THE EXACT WORDS I USED IN MY ADMISSIONS ESSAYS. I AM & ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AN INDEPENDENT THINKER, A CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVER, & A REBEL. I AM VERY MUCH SO IMAD FADLALLAH’S DAUGHTER IN THESE WAYS, & I NEED TO CONTINUE IN THAT MOMENTUM REGARDLESS WHAT FORCES ARE TEMPTING ME TO CONFORM TO WHAT’S COMFORTABLE OR “NORMAL.” NOTHING REVOLUTIONARY HAS EVER BEEN COMFORTABLE OR NORMAL.

only love,

ri


WHAt’s THIS Dailyri SERIES?

INTRODUCING THE DAILYRi SERIES.

Inspired by Gary Vaynerchuck’s DailyVees, DailyRi is my daily commitment to documenting my #roadtorima, in shorter form riflections, 1) because writing makes me happy, and 2) i’ve become obsessed with walking in my purpose & drafting a story that I can be proud of.

SO I’LL BE HERE EVERY DAY.