Keeping Sane Amidst August Craziness

Clearly, I underestimated how busy my month of August would be.

Earlier I wrote about how Italians treat the month of August as an extended vacation, a chance to unwind and relax with family and friends at the beach. For me, I knew there would be no beach time, but I had hoped to enjoy my last month of before school starts with some pleasure.

Unfortunately, however, August has been nothing but buzzing with activity. At work, the welcoming of the new MBA class required 6:00 AM alarms and multiple cups of coffee in the early morning hours. Thinking back on these past few weeks, I can recall few moments when I could actually sit down at my desk and leisurely check my email. Instead, I spent the better part of my days running around the Business School making name tags, loading snacks and knocking down forests with dozens of trees I killed when making thousands of copies (no exaggeration).

Yet, even as I literally ran around the office, I finally had the chance to meet with the students whose names I had learned since the beginning of the summer. It was refreshing to finally be able to shake the persons’ hands whose folders I had labeled and whose emails I had answered. At first I felt overwhelmed to meet nearly 260 new students, fearing intimidation and my naiveté. However, as I began to have conversations with many of them, I was impressed by their devotion and enthusiasm to put their professional careers on hold to return to the classroom for two years of MBA study.

Fortunately for me, today was the finale to my 7:00 AM workday start times, but it will be very short-lived. While I may have tomorrow and Thursday to catch a few extra hours of sleep, by Friday I will be waking up again to the early ringing of my alarm as my pre-orientation for Georgetown freshmen kicks into high gear. Having spent the past summer planning this weeklong event, it is scary to think that in just a few days our preparations will become reality.

The program Leadership & Beyond aims to teach incoming students about how to be an effective leader and the different ways one can develop leadership skills. Through a series of workshops, team building, community service projects and visiting speakers, these students will learn how they can express their ideas and forge their own paths during their time at the university. By teaching them these skills early in their college life, I hope that they will leave Georgetown in four years having left their leadership footprint on the Hilltop.

So even with all the August craziness between work and L&B, there has been one thing that has kept me from losing my mind: yoga. I had practiced yoga sporadically during my two years at Georgetown, but it is only just recently that I became a yogi convert. Intrigued by a coworker’s stories about her free trial week at local studio, I decided to see for myself what all her hype was about.

When I first walked into the studio it was like walking outside. With air temperatures hovering over 90 degrees, the thermostat in the studio read nearly identical numbers. Just sitting in the room for the ten minutes before the class made me sweat. Then, only twenty minutes later, my body was drenched. As I concentrated on the poses and twisted my arms and legs, my body felt completely awakened and alive. Despite working out on a regular basis, I felt challenged by yoga more than I had ever felt during a spin or kickboxing class.

With the craziness of my days seeming to build more and more, I anxiously look forward to the moments of reprieve when I can step on my mat, take a breath and allow my mind to forget everything else but my practice.

Reflecting on it, I realize that yoga has been my way of channeling the “piano-piano” lifestyle I admired so much in Italy. My practice is my time to relax and appreciate all my good fortune. When I leave the class, I feel so much more energized and positive about myself. Even if I leave only to shower and then on to cross off a half-dozen things on my to-do list, yoga has become my motivator, my sanity-saver, my way of celebrating myself.


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