So why the gloom and doom? For one, the level and pace of classes has shot up exponentially over the last couple weeks. Falling behind is not an option, it's an inevitability. The whole experience reminds me a bit of a Texan rodeo, where you cling on for dear life, attempting to stay on top of things for as long as possible and hoping that when you do fall off (and you will), sheer dumb luck will intervene to keep you from getting crushed to death. Exams are in less than four weeks, and there are quizzes, group projects, exercises and essays due in the meantime. God help us.
The second cause of the "blah" is the to-be-expected mid-term anticlimax. We all started out a few weeks ago eager to great every new face and immediately love them forever. This kind of attitude is simply not sustainable in the long run. Now, we studiously ignore anyone whose identity, family history, and first pet's name we are not intimately familiar with; there are just too many people, not enough time, and energy levels are running low. This is also the time in the year that we realize that despite the fact that we're all sharing this amazing INSEAD experience together, it hasn't been long enough for us to really be friends yet (I am aware that I may be upsetting a few of my classmates who read this blog. Maybe I should qualify and say that might just be how I'm feeling about it.) Four weeks, even four intensive INSEAD-bubble-quality weeks, is too short for us to really know each other, especially when we've met around 300 people at random parties wearing silly costumes. My networking skills are just not that honed. But this aspect of the blues, I'm convinced, will lift slowly, as time passes and relationships become more real.
So, what to do when the blues hit? Well, some of us have taken to living in the library, in an attempt to stave off exam worries. Others have chosen to take a 12+ hour bus ride to Munich to drown their fears and sorrows in copious amounts of beer. Still others have reunited with friends, partners, families, seeking to reintegrate the real world (this can actually be quite dangerous; kids, don't try this at home).
And then there are the never-ending, pointless but highly entertaining INSEAD events to keep your mind off things. Here's a quick run-through of fun INSEAD life (yes, it's still there!) over the last few days.
Saturday witnessed the crushing victory of Section E4's football team in the inter-section Football Championship. Despite threatening clouds, the orange-clad, crown-wearing boys and girls of this fine athletic formation quickly disposed of their rivals, winning each match 4 to 1 and celebrating with true E4 panache and flair.
On Sunday, I was invited to dinner at Montmelian, served by the finest Dutch chef on campus. Who needs three Michelin star restaurants when you can get delicious cream of broccoli soup, scallops and apple pie in an idyllic chateau setting?!
Then yesterday was the start of Korea-Japan week, the first of many national weeks to come where we are all treated to the finest and funnest of our classmates' cultures. Calligraphy contests (it took me close to an hour just to write "friendship".... badly), Korean and Japanese food, Tug-of-War, lovely national costumes... what's not to love?!
And so the smiles return, at least until the next Econ quiz.