Aug 29, 2007

Cherche bouée de sauvetage...

The recently returned access to our showers has done wonders to improve my mood, as you would imagine. Settling in is still proving a bit more difficult that I would have hoped, though.

So, quick update on the most recent goings-on at Planet Fonty (I actually need to glance back at my schedule print-out to even remember what I've been doing over the past few days).

1) Registration: an overly complicated procedure which involved paying lots of money to lots of people (yes, that's right, more money...). I am now signed up for the gym (the eternal optimist), paid up to be painfully tested on my third language skills (more on that later), and the proud owner of both a Bain corkscrew and a McKinsey lounge-tunes CD (who was it that said life here was surreal?)

2) After about two days fully employed filling out forms and finding Indian IT specialists to help you configure your laptop, it was finally time for the "Opening Ceremony", a rather understated affair in which we all got to assess our classmates' fashion sense. Before they ran out of champagne. How do you run out of champagne at a business school? In any event, by this stage the more networking-minded of our class had met about half the students (sorry, "participants"). The rest of us had met whoever we'd staggered into at Sunday's first Montmelian chateau party.

3) Ah, now we get to today, the most glorious of Orientation Week days, the day when yours truly finally realized she was in Way Over Her Head (yes, I am a girl, despite what some of you presumed...) First off, the aforementioned third language exam, allegedly designed to test our "basic" skills in the language of our choice. Right. The only basic skills of mine being tested were my random-guessing-I-think-there-should-be-more-Bs skills, not to mention my uncanny knack at constructing a 200-word essay using only 12 different words, at least 4 of which were French.

4) Thus feeling suitably inadequate, and cheered only by the quality of the cafeteria food, I moved on to the "INSEAD club" fair. INSEAD clubs (of which there are surprisingly few) are divided into two distinct categories. There are those for normal people, centered around sports, eating, drinking, and mild networking activities. And then there are those for the select few, or as the elusive, secret-handshake-and-royal-title-only Renaissance Club puts it, the "right kind of people." Even the normal clubs involve an application form and an interview. Welcome to biz school.

5) Finally, after an enjoyable intro presentation by Dean Fattas (and an undeniably more frightening presentation by our student government representatives), it was time to start the homework for our first introductory module tomorrow. As a result, I've found myself spending the last hour reading up on the Swedish textile industry in the 1960s. As I said, very much In Over My Head.

Will someone please remind me why I left my cushy job, and even cushier year-long sabbatical, for the epic-scale mother of all deep ends?!

That being said, there are up-sides to all this. For example, I get to leave you now to make my way downstairs for our first house dinner, where Indian, Italian, Lebanese, French, Spanish, Brazilian, Peruvian, German and English food will be frantically prepared and enjoyed over numerous glasses of wine. Well, hopefully no English food, actually...

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