Prematriculation Begins

Now that the admissions process is in full swing and I've officially accepted (although they will have to wait a while to receive my $1,000 tuition deposit -- good to know my tax return will go to a good cause this year!), the prematriculation process begins, and boy is it a process. Do you remember back in high school when teachers would assign summer reading, or projects to acquaint yourself with the fall's material. Well folks, it's baaack and in a big way.

Harvard is so organized (thankfully!) that they set up a customized prematriculation checklist with all ten bazillion things you have to get done before you can start school in the fall. It's everything from your financial aid application to the housing lottery to immunizations and -- get this -- a telephone answering machine that you have to leave the pronunciation of your name on so professors know how to address you on the first day (this of all things is a godsend after my name was mispronounced during both my high school and college graduations). The list goes on to outline all of the quantitative, accounting and finance tutorials that you must complete, the summer reading (read: textbooks) you have to do, the gym consent form, transcript requests...and I'm getting dizzy just looking at the list.

In all seriousness, my procrastination-loathing nature has me already diving into the checklist and I've completed almost everything that I physically can at this point. I passed out of the accounting tutorial (who knew I actually learned stuff from my Valencia course) and am about halfway through the quantitative tutorial, so it's all good.

In more exciting news, I've become a regular poster on the HBS Class of 2010 Bulletin Boards, on which I discovered a fellow admit from Orlando (we seem to be the only Florida admits so far, although I did receive a congratulatory phone call from a current student who went to UF as well). I've also discovered the classcards directory, which gives you basic information about all of your fellow admits -- work history, interests, hometowns, etc. I'm surprised by how many people are coming from the military and amazed at the array of international students (China, France, England, India!). I can't wait to learn about all the different cultures that will be represented.

And finally, before I sign off and get back to what I really should be doing (read: work), I wanted to announce that I'm officially going to Admitted Students Weekend! Okay, maybe that's not the most revolutionary news ever, but I'm proud of myself for choosing to go even though it means stretching my boundaries in several ways. Firstly, it means putting more than $500 on my already large credit card bill (the one I've been desperately trying to pay off for a year now to no avail) and it means taking off 1.5 days work. It also means putting myself out there in a giant social situation and hoping I find my way (not the easiest for a shy-when-you-first-meet-me kind of gal). Regardless, I think it's good to meet everyone sooner rather than later, and to go on the housing tour (I'm curious to see just how small a single dorm room can get). I'll be sure to update the blog when I return with all the nitty-gritties (and maybe a few photos). Until then, here's a picture of me standing in front of Dillon House the day before my interview last November (this same display of excitement could not have been shown post-interview as my nerves and over-analyzing brain had then kicked into high gear). Au Revoir!

When the Clock Strikes Twelve

I imagine that most of the other Harvard Business School Round 1 Applicants were glued to their computer screen Jan. 16, 2008, at 12 noon when admissions decisions were released, but my acceptance story took an interesting twist. You see, I was aboard the Disney Magic on a seven-night cruise with no cell-phone or Internet access. Making it even more complicated was the fact that this day's excursion took me 2 hours into mainland Mexico for an exploration of the Tulum Ruins (which were fascinating, by the way) and kept me even farther from modern communication devices until 5 p.m. that evening.

You can imagine my stress, then, when I returned to the ship exhausted from the excursion, sweaty from the heat (and nerves) and knowing that my future lie in an e-mail that would cost me 75 cents a minute to check on the ship (but hey, if you're going to spend $150,000 for two years, what's $15 for internet, right?).

My mom and I made our way to deck 9, grabbed a seat in the Cove Cafe and, with her peering over my shoulder, logged into Yahoo. First e-mail I saw: Congratulations on your HBS acceptance from Gordon Jones (my admissions officer). My heart leapt: I made it.

I'm one of those people that never likes to get their hopes up, so I never truly let myself believe that I would make it. When I visited the campus for my interview in November, all I could think was how impressive Harvard was, and how intelligent and high-profile the other interviewees were. Somehow my job in Public Relations at Walt Disney World just didn't seem to match up against the private equity and hedgefund folks. But, despite the 10% acceptance rate odds, I had made it.

Four days later, finished with my fantastic cruise and surfing the Prematriculation site, it still hasn't quite sunk in that I'm moving to Boston in 7 months to embark on a fantastic and horrifying journey. A million thoughts are running through my head: will I get along with the other students, will I like living in New England, will I be able to handle the workload? Through this blog, we'll find out all those answers together.