When I was applying to business school a lot of the conversations I had about relationships were largely negative. “Black Friday” this or “Black October” that or whatever they call it. I made it abundantly clear that I consider these ideas grad school propaganda for unskilled predators. I knew coming to Wharton that I would not be one to fall out of my budding relationship 3-4 months after matriculation.
Yes, juggling a relationship and school is incredibly tough—but if you are with someone who is worth it, much like anything else, you will find a way to manage. I have been with my boyfriend for one year and two months, and although we have had to hurdle a few obstacles and make sacrifices, our relationship has blossomed beautifully during my first year in B-school. Here’s how we’re doing it…
Chris and I before Wharton (5 months into our relationship)
Flew down for a much needed date-night before school got crazy.
Introspect – while this sounds scary and can be extremely painful, it’s just a warm-up for what you’ll have to do to truly succeed for, arguably, the rest of your life. Really take time to think about how serious you are about the person you’re currently with. If you don’t sincerely see yourself making sacrifices and time for this individual then maybe you two should discuss that BEFORE you embark on your MBA journey. A break up might be the last thing you want to deal with once you begin. I was resolute about making my relationship work because I think Chris, my boyfriend, is a phenomenal and incredibly thoughtful individual who makes me feel like every bit of the woman I am (even when I suffer from selective amnesia).
Testament to his magnetic personality!
Manage Expectations – if you do decide to grow your relationship, try to have fairly regular conversations with your partner about expectations, especially prior to matriculation. Chris and I discussed everything from how often we would visit and communicate to how to manage expenses. When we were both living in my hometown, Houston, we would see each other 3-4 times a week. Before heading off to school, we discussed how to handle the shift. Knowing that we would see each other much less frequently, we agreed to really make our few moments together count. We’d reasonably see each other once every other month and try to travel or do something adventurous during some of those times.
Chris and I in Barcelona at Parc Guell before Thanksgiving
Chris is a thrill-seeker, so we ran with the bulls for his birthday and finished up the day with a massive tomato fight!
Chris and I in Dubai for our 1 year Anniversary