Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No pain, no gain?

First Deadline: 15 Days
Schools Completed: 0/6
Essays Submitted: 0/26

Perhaps an overly dramatic title. I sit here wondering "Where'd the last nine hours go?" and feel concern that I've made no "real" progress, while simultaneously feeling extremely satisfied with my abundant progress. IE: I submitted nothing and finalized no drafts today, but spent 9 full hours sitting at my desk after work being extremely productive in revisions and general application data entry. Come to think of it, I should consider putting some food near my desk tomorrow night.

It's 3AM (east coast) and I just finished conversing with a fellow MBA aspirant (helped slim & focus his Wharton draft) and am settling back with a shocked grin on my face: Tomorrow, after work, I'm going to fundamentally restructure Stanford #1 for the 5th time. Well, the first two restructurings were more akin to 'burn the house down, then rebuild it' but with each pass I get happier with the clarity and direction.

I can appreciate the days where there was no set length to that notable Stanford essay, and can see both bad and the good in the word limit. For one, I've already chopped four incredibly valuable experiences out of it, and will probably chop one or two more - there's just not enough room to cover so many life experiences and clearly link each to a central theme. I'm both pleased and annoyed at having to cherrypick the experiences that best fit my theme and clearly convey my message; On the one hand, I leave a lot of great material on the side, but on the other hand it is a fantastic exercise.

We learn about the '80-20' rule at work - to apply it here, 80% of an outcome takes only 20% of the effort. Essays feel more like 95-5 at this point; I wrote a 500 worder for Wharton in perhaps an hour back in early August, and have since spent at least 10 revising it. Stanford #1 has consumed a solid 40 hours of my life thusfar, no doubt. At the same time, all that extra effort has been well spent, and there are only a few 'big hitters' that have been truly time consuming. Given I lost quite a lot of essay time a few weeks back, I'm content-but-concerned with my progress. I will have finished a few school applications by the end of the week.

G'nite... I'm off to quickly revise 2 school drafts and send them to a recommender at their request, then sleep, then work, then essays!

1 comment:

  1. hey ls,

    try to hang in there - it's just another 2 weeks. look back at how much work you spent on this so far, how much you accomplished and push a little harder for the remaining days.

    after you hit that submit button you will feel very relieved and probably have the best sleep in months... but until then focus and do what you have to do!

    good luck!