As I ran past HBS this morning I was struck by the familiar feeling that I simply never went there. I really honestly can barely remember anything of those two years. The photo above seems to prove that I did graduate, but if not for the photographic evidence of 2 years and the handful of friends I met there, I might believe it didn’t actually happen.
I never felt at home at HBS, never felt quite like I fit. Perhaps this ought to have been my first clue that the Business World was not for me! I also can think of almost nothing that I actually learned there. I wonder if this is because I spent 90% of my in-class time doing the Times crossword or (more often) reading the cases for the next day’s classes. This is the most salient example I can think of NOT Being Here Now. My God. I was so focused on getting done with the next day’s work that I never heard a damned thing in today’s class. Anna seemed to have the same strategy, and she and I had many free nights with nothing to do since we were done with our homework. Anna, however, seems to have emerged from HBS with a few skills and things learned, so I am forced to conclude this is another data point supporting the fact that I really am an idiot.
I guess that is one thing that HBS gave me: Anna. We were friendly at Princeton but didn’t get close until HBS. While I am a mental midget compared to Anna, she’s the friend who most understands the intellectual and mental restlessness I feel, who knows the angst of having a big gaping hole where “life’s professional passion” should be. She too has lots of interests, none of them compelling. She consumes life at breakneck speed, searching, always, as I am, for an animating interest, for an internal compass. For me to have a friend with whom I can share the many challenges and joys of this way of living is an enormous gift.
Since we’ve both become mothers, our relationship has deepened. Anna is one of my favorite mother friends – she is funny and pragmatic, charmed and unsentimental, and always incisively observant when talking about Zachary and Ava. She shares my awareness of how frustration and awe coexist in every minute of mothering.
So, while I really can’t read an income statement, don’t understand a lick about macroeconomics, and still struggle to remember the five forces, I guess HBS was worth it if I found Anna there!
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