DailyRi 020: How I'm Approaching My Second Semester at Ross
LAST WEEK, I STARTED MY SECOND SEMESTER AT THE ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS.
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.