P2 has ended and after a week of gallivanting across cold and foggy Belgium during this winter break, I am back home in my small town Germany downtown apartment. One of the best investments I had made since I moved to Fonty was to buy a Nespresso machine. Even on days when I am rushing like a maniac to make it to the 8:30am class, I make sure to get my morning dose of espresso. Now that I am in Germany, I am having to make do with what I have in my apartment – a french press – which isn’t much as far as coffee-making instruments go. So I did some research. I read an article on how to foam milk in a french press yesterday, and I decide to put that knowledge to use.

I have a holiday morning routine. I wake up, I put a pot full of water on the stove. I bring the water close to boiling and then steep some medium ground coffee beans and hot water in the french press for 4 minutes. The aroma of coffee fills the living room. I boil some milk in a small pot. I empty the steeped coffee into a glass and empty the french press. I pour the hot and frothy milk into the french press machine. I plunge the press repeatedly until the milk foams. Voila! I now have my cup of amateur latte which I happen to serve in an INSEAD mug that I bought in February 2017 when I first visited Fonty.

Today as I sipped my coffee and stared out of the long windows in the living room, I observed the people in the coffee shop across the road. The coffee shop is called Ubu le roi – cafe et bar. French is still around me, I am afterall in the Alsace region. I walked to my desk in the study – where I first looked up INSEAD around 14 months ago, where I studied for my GMAT, where I did my video interview for the INSEAD application. I couldn’t help but reflect back on everything that ensued since then. I am now 40% through with the MBA; I marvelled at how we (18Js) awkwardly and dextrously crammed a year’s worth of core courses into four meager months. I am excited about electives.

The journey so far has been fabulous. Considering the program is very short (only 10 months long), I didn’t think I would find anything beyond a handful of cherished friendships, but boy! was I wrong. I feel a sense of unexplained kinship towards my entire section (18JE2), and yes, #E2forever. Our social reps did a fantastic job of bringing us all together with a section party half way through P1, section hunger games right before P1 finals, section dinner on Thanksgiving, section getaway to a chateau a few weeks before P2 finals with E2 awards celebrating our quirks and idiosyncrasies, Christmas tree decoration to celebrate the festive spirit together and secret Santa. We all now have an shared identity that transcends our individual identities and as you can see, we are all obnoxiously proud of it. We even have a section podcast featuring more in-depth life stories of some beloved E2 peeps.

18J-E2 – Transformation from the Start of P1 to End of P1 in Amphi P (aka homebase)

Speaking of stories, I have been running an informal story tellers club with Aayush and Sehrish. We bring story tellers and story lovers together. Aayush’s passion for storytelling is contagious and inspiring. Providing a cozy, comfortable space for people to share life stories and actually hearing stories that I had never heard of in earlier interactions with these same people, has been one of the most rewarding experiences at INSEAD. We’ve had three wonderful sessions so far and the turnout for all of them has been amazing.

The Story Club

I am very receptive to inspiration around me, I am happy to report I make time for the gym more often now. In general, I have observed that I resort to physical rigor when I am mentally challenged. So all in all, INSEAD has been great.

I am breaking away from my usual habit of indulging in nostalgia and getting into a more forward-thinking mode. After traveling almost every weekend in P2, I decide to slow down a bit in P3. Consequently, I am using the winter break for some much needed self-reflection to figure out where I want to apply for a job after INSEAD. This is definitely building up some anticipation and I can’t wait to see what P3 has in store for all of us!