John Lennon famously stated, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” I unquestionably agree. However, I had a thought today- an extension of Mr. Lennon's contemplation…that being that our best memories are made when we’re too busy living them. I know this is no novel idea. I’ve had the thought hundreds of times, and I know plenty of other people who probably have as well. But last weekend, also known as the weekend before finals, the weekend where no one saw the light of day, or more appropriately; “the weekend of hell,” something struck me reminding me to appreciate even the infernal undertaking of exams. This something made me take a step back and stop mulling over what I miss about my past.
It made me stop thinking about what my current life should be as opposed to what it is. It all started with a song:
As part of our final evaluations and grades, we had marketing presentations. For the past two terms, we have been working towards a marketing project in which we took a generic product and each week, developed it- working from market research and segmentation, to distribution channels, branding and finally a comprehensive marketing plan. As part of the culmination of the past six months, we presented our full projects to the class and our professors. Each member of each group was individually working day and night on this project.
My roommate’s boyfriend happened to be at my apartment working on his.
For the soundtrack of his presentation, he chose a song by a Spanish artist I had never heard of.
For three days straight, whether I was cooking, studying or showering, I heard this song echoing through the halls of my home. I liked the song, it was one of those songs that strikes you and you’re not sure what it makes you feel or how it reminds you of something particular - but it has the distinct effect on you only music has a way of doing. Unfortunately, I was sick of the song by day two, as the repetition only added to my frustration of incessant studying and lack of sunlight exposure. And honestly, I wanted to wring his neck.
Now however, a few days later, left with only a few mental scars and dissonant worry, I can’t stop listening to the song. I’m pleased to have found something that makes me feel lucky to be in Spain- some part of this foreign culture that I connect with.
Yet the best part is, I know that I will hear the song again two years from now and remember the study weekend where we were ALL suffering, buried deep in corporate finance and marketing strategy.
And then five years from now- I will hear the song and the details of the weekend will have all but dissolved, but I’ll remember my roommate and her boyfriend, in my apartment, and the little family we formed in and out of school.
And ten years from now, I’ll hear the song and it will remind me of the MBA. It will remind me of Barcelona. It will be the memory that was made while I was on the verge of tears at the hands of calculators and notes that made no sense.
But it's a good memory. It's something rare that I’m living now, that I’ve never lived before and I will never live again. These are the memories- the incredible memories I am making as I’m busy living them.
That's what I mean by that. So much for short explanations…
So beyond this song that I am now unquestionably attached to- the song that will forever be known to me as Antonio’s aggravating marketing presentation song- and the weekends of hell that we underwent while cramming for finals, I know that I’ll find this song one day in my future to serve the purpose of reminding me of my past.
As for the present- I am pleased to say that exams are over, term-two has ended and term-three has officially begun. (So much for a break). I can’t say I aced everything, but I believe that I did enough to pass. I took an hour out of International Tax Law studying to read and re-read the rules and regulations of the MBA program. Actually, I didn't just read them- I dissected them and reevaluated them and did about 1000 different interpretations just to make sure that I’m safe. The time spent calculating the odds of being booted from the MBA probably would have been better utilized had I read just one more chapter of one more book- but by day six, we all go a little crazy…and I’m pleased to announce that failing an exam does not necessarily result in expulsion. So the fates of corporate finance can stop breathing down my neck because as Gwen Stefani sang, “I know we're cool.”
Finally, speaking of cool, this came out last week:
Needless to say, the article was due the morning of my corporate finance exam. I spent the night oscillating between net present values and language, fighting this enormous internal battle regarding my priorities. Oh, the irony.
Please enjoy the article. More importantly, enjoy the song. I know I will…for years and years.