One month into the INSEAD life
Yes, it has been one month already! So much has happened it feels like a lifetime. Yet it seems to have gone by in a day. Between classes, group work, club events, socialising and partying, job hunting, soul searching, travelling, you have no choice but to learn to prioritise and allocate your time very efficiently to “survive” in the INSEAD “jungle”. Emotional ups and downs in the span of a few minutes, intense stress followed by immense joys; there is no room for neutrality here (at least for me). Still, it feels exhilarating!
It is quite difficult to describe what happens when you mix 500+ high-energy individuals with their own stories, values, ideas, all looking to bond and to make the best of their experience! The chemistry that emanates from our group is very special. In my opinion, this is the very essence of the INSEAD experience. And yes, it is truly unique!
Pay it Forward
It is heart-warming to see the students put so much of themselves in all of the welcome week activities, the club events, the national weeks, the treks, the bootcamps, the organised travels, and all the other informal activities. The extent to which students go to create and define each of our experience, is unreal. After a month I feel like I am part of a big, inclusive family that perfectly abides by the “ pay it forward” mantra.
With that spirit in mind I want to share a few observations and lessons from my experience on the Singapore campus so far:
• Everyone has a natural tendency to associate with the people of the same nationality, I guess because all humans like familiarity to some extent. I seek to be contrarian in that aspect. Instead of naturally reverting to my fellow Canadians (which I like very much for the record), I instead make an honest attempt to meet and bond with the people that are the most different from me, and as often as possible. Truth is, I don’t know when will be the next time I will get share shisha with an Egyptian, go on a surf trip with Italians, spend hours discussing the structure of the Indian society, and so on. This is an exclusive time to bond with people I would not have met otherwise. It might seem obvious but we tend to forget easily.
• FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”) is very real given that there is always something going on here. As a result, you tend to fill up every minute of your day. It can become overwhelming (especially on minimal sleep), and you can become unproductive by running around so much. I think I have reached the point where I need to admit that I can’t clone myself. Sometimes slowing down and saying no is a better option.
• Working to adopt the right mindset is key to highlighting your experience at INSEAD. I am often tempted to adopt a “been there, done that” attitude when I think I know something already. Obviously, I won’t learn much with that mindset. Reminding myself that unlearning is key and that I can learn something in every situation / every person is key to creating the openness necessary to grow.