Mally Goes to Business School

episode 1: a tethered bumblebee

On the eve of my first day as a postgraduate student of business, I find myself divided. 

I’m like a frantic pendulum.  Not one of those beautifully sleek metal situations you find at The Sharper Image, gracefully swaying from one side to another… but rather, like a bumblebee tethered to a stone. 

Buzz buzz buzz

            I am a strong, capable 32-year-old woman who has her shit together.  I got this.

Bumble bumble bumble

            I have no idea what I am doing and everyone around me knows it.

Buzz buzz buzz

            My age, creativity and alternative background is my greatest strength.

Bumble bumble bumble

            I’m an old fart who is completely out of her league.

For those of you who don’t know me [and just to be clear, I am well aware that 99.99% of you reading this are my parents] my name is Mally.  I am a songwriter, a yoga and meditation teacher, an aspiring herbalist, a feminist, and a believer in magic, serendipity, love, and the incredible power of kindness.  I am also a white middle-class woman from Massachusetts.  In my 32 years of living so far, I have had the incredible privilege of highly specialized, creative education.  From majoring in dance and psychology in my undergraduate studies, to living in a tiny caravan on an island off the southwest coast of Scotland learning about plant medicine, I have always followed my heart and my passion.  To top it all off, I am blessed with a remarkably supportive family who, despite my left-of-center career path and sometimes questionable/risky (at least at first glance) life choices, never cease to believe in me.

So how did I end up in business school? 

Good question.  

Last year, I fell deeply in love with Scotland – the land, the music, the people… even the weather!  No matter how hard I tried to redirect it, my compass was unshakably pointing towards the land of thistle and heather

In order to live in Scotland, I needed a visa. 

Ways to get a visa:

1.     Get hired/sponsored by a fancy business that would commit to paying me a salary of at least $40,000 [now remember, I’m a yoga teacher… I challenge you, dear reader, to find a company that will hire a yoga teacher at that salary]

2.     Marry a Scottish person [romantically quite appealing… but even had this been a possibility, the paperwork and hoop jumping required are a major bummer]

3.     Get accepted to an accredited university [ding ding ding! we have a winner!]  

I had been thinking about going back to school for a few years… mostly, I fantasized about studying some form of holistic medicine.  I even thought [quite seriously actually] about going to Divinity School.  But in the end, I wound up enrolling in a postgraduate degree in business. 

Mally, the free-spirit adventure-seeking nature-loving flower-child, is now a student of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Edinburgh [UoE].  Yipes.   

To be fair, the business route wasn’t completely out-of-nowhere.  Over the past six years, I built my own freelance yoga business and also helped to open and run a handful of successful juice bars in the Boston area.  And more recently, I have begun to envision a future business venture that combines my passion for holistic medicine, my desire to empower women/women-identifying individuals, and my dream to build bridges between alternative medicine and western medicine… So sure, business made sense!  With the program at UoE, I can gain the foundational tools necessary to take my vision and make it real, while also satisfying my soul-shaking desire to live in Scotland. 

It’s a win win!  A no-brainer!  I got this.

Cut to today:  

I am a sweaty, anxious mess.

The eczema on my hands has decided to rear is ugly, itchy, fiery head… Which probably has something to do with the anxiety… and maybe the sweat too, ha… sigh.

I spent the morning in the library pouring over week 1 lecture slides, googling “equity in business,” “pro-forma,” “copex/opex” and “liquid assets,” reacquainting myself with the Dewey Decimal System, and printing out articles with titles like “Preparing Financial Projections for Entrepreneurial Firms,” “A Structural Approach to Assessing Innovation,” and “The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest”… the latter being particularly terrifying/disheartening/oh shit, what the fuck have I gotten myself into.

I spent the afternoon in the university bookstore, pressing my face to the proverbial glass wall dividing the rainbow colored Poetry, Gender Studies, Gaelic Culture and Music sections from the dull grey of Business and Finance.  

… Deep breaths.

I think that at the heart of my anxiety is fear.

Fear that I made a mistake; fear that I am in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing; fear that I will look stupid and make a fool of myself; fear that I wont be good at it; fear that I will fail.

I am afraid that I will fail. 

Yep, that’s the one.   

Plain and simple.

Exhale. Just saying that “outloud” helps. It helps a lot, actually. 

I think that’s why I want to start blogging again… I want to offer myself a safe space to get out all the crazy tethered bumblebee madness going on in my brain; a place where I can step away from business and academia and just be creative and honest.

So, here I go!  Blogging again!  I have no idea how often I’ll be able to post once the semester gets going… I’m giving myself zero guidelines or expectations. Except that I promise to include some photographs and fun non-wordy things in the future.  But other than that, I’ll post when I post.  No more, and no less.

Tomorrow, Mally goes to Business School…. wish me luck!