Diaries Magazine


Posted on the 04 July 2017 by Sallygatez @salaminaM

One of the biggest challenges I face as an entrepreneur, Mom, Wife, devoted friend and now ‘temporary student in the USA’ is staying on top of everything. The 6-hour time difference is also not helping matters much. I joked to one of the other Mandela fellows the other day that, I’m burning myself out trying to operate in two time zones simultaneously. I find that I am responding to emails, trying make sure I’m present in class, organizing group work projects, keeping in touch with the family, and of course attempting at times even to avoid getting distracted by social media. Adult-studenting!

So here's the update; It is the beginning of the third week of the Mandela Washington programme and I genuinely cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by. I was hoping to have time to blog daily, but alas... 24 hours a day is just not enough to get it all done right now. I have been playing catch up since I got here.  And I must add, getting used to this 'American style' University experience has been quite something in itself. Add living in *very* close proximity to a whole group of people who are also going through similar stuff to you, and you have yourself an interesting concoction. My days usually start with me rolling out of my single bed. Which is by the way, the highest bed I have ever, ever had to sleep in. If you are familiar with my height limitations, you will understand my dilemma. 💆Then its a brisk shower to power me up for the day. I have been surprisingly good with taking my effervescent Vitamins everyday here (note, this does not happen back home). Plan an outfit, realize it has not been ironed (eek!). So change outfit and be ready to head down to the Business Centre with one of my favs on the programme, a stunning young woman from Tanzania. That's a post for another day. Our daily routine involves hiting Starbucks every week day because if you get there before 8h30, you get free coffee. Don't judge, I'm on a student budget so this is super!Our classes cover a myriad of topics related to business leadership, social entrepreneurship, personal management and the likes. These have been great, and it already feels like I have attended a full semester of courses in just two packed weeks. Meaning of course that after a full day of sessions that include project teams where we are actually consulting on a real business case, I am FINISHED!Administration-wise, Lehigh University is doing the most! Their systems run well, they are organised and they even went as far as to buy basic toiletries, baskets and laundry detergent for every single one of us on our arrival, possibly thinking that we may have forgotten to pack stuff in our rush to get ready. 

(I think it was probably more for the men whose wives didn't pack for them.) 😉😉

We also have a card pre-loaded with moolah to be used only for food, laundry and pharmacy purchases. And like real little students, they made sure that we cannot swipe for alcohol on these cards!!! tltltltltl! Probably a good idea, some of us would have starved for the rest of the 6 weeks we are here. And lastly, our evenings are filled with nights where most of us are furiously typing away at our laptops trying to meet deadlines, or catch up with 'home'. And of course, I would be remiss not to mention the fair amount of "American Pie"-style partying (i.e. beer pong, shooters, all night dancing, twerk contests and salsa lessons all rolled into one- quite a feat!) that has been going on in the dorms next to ours. We do on occasion partake in these festivities- very often to some really unfortunate side-effects the next day. Lets just say, age is a factor here. I don't know how I did all that partying in my undergraduate days, while still somehow managing to get a Degree. 

'nuf yack yacking, I have a presentation due. Thanks for keeping me company while I procrastinated! 
Laters 💋

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