This text originally appeared in Norwegian on bi.no last fall. The content is written and translated by Hege Janson Skogen, a MSc in Strategic Marketing Management student at BI.
Before: Slept a lot. Went out on Thursday nights. Worked out six days a week. Enjoyed long weekends. Lots of time for friends, work and other fun things. Thought in Norwegian.
Now: Wake up at six every day. Wine has a toxic effect on my much needed brainpower. Work out once a week. The word weekend seems like a lie to me. Told my friends that we can hang out in two years. Slightly afraid of losing my job. Think in academic English and struggle a bit to explain things in Norwegian.
As an undergraduate student on the PR program, I was all over the place, all the time. I was involved in the student union, I had two part-time jobs, and I was networking, traveling and adventuring. As a fresh student, I was excited by all the things I could do and be a part of. The opportunities gave me the chance to learn as much in real life as I did in the classroom. No day was the same and everything was fun. I said ‘yes’ to every opportunity that presented itself.
I’m glad I did. This past week, I have been at school from eight in the morning until ten at night to possibly, just maybe, give myself permission to go hunting this weekend. It’s hunting season once a year, but two days is an insane amount of lost study time. So, whenever I have any time to think about something other than school, I think about how I am going to structure the next few days to make it all add up. When should I go to bed to have enough time to work out in the morning? What should I bring for lunch tomorrow? How can I make time to meet my friend who is moving abroad in two weeks? When am I supposed to pack for this hunt? No, I can’t go come work that day. No Mom, I am not coming for Sunday dinner, I do not have such luxuries anymore. No friends, I cannot go out on Saturday. Visit you in Copenhagen!? Maybe next summer.
The lecturers are good at what they do. They know a lot and demand accordingly. Students are being evaluated on class participation, which means that it is not enough to skim through the tower of curriculum we are required to read each week. It must be read thoughtfully and understood properly. We have already started on assignments and presentations. Vacation looks like a tiny, flickering light at the end of a long, dark and narrow tunnel. For the first time, I have to say no to the opportunities that I would usually say happily yes to.
So why didn’t I leave while I could?
Because I love it! I have become a nerd in no time. I have set goals for myself and actually enjoy myself by the mere thought of achieving them. I want to go on exchange next fall and I want to be able to choose my employer in two years. To pull that off, I need a grade average between A and B. That’s what motivates me.
I have learnt a lot more than I thought I would during these first few months. It is much more fun to be in a lecture now than when I was only here to take notes for my last minute effort in December. With a good class full of clever and motivated personalities, I am well off. I am challenged constantly, and it is surprisingly enjoyable to build on what I have learnt in the past. I feel like that I am educating myself into becoming a highly skilled and versatile marketing expert, with a huge analytical toolbox in tow. There aren’t many who can make that claim!
I would therefore, despite of the long days, the pages upon pages of required reading, the lack of variety in the environment and the absence of a social life, highly recommend taking a master at BI. I am perhaps a little disillusioned as a consequence of severe sleep deprivation when I write this, but I already feel a lot smarter, a little more competent and even better prepared for my future career.
By the way. I went on that hunting trip. Honestly, you can’t stop!