For many of my classmates, Winter Break was the opportunity to do something that they ordinarily would not have done on their own – whether it was trekking through Antarctica, exploring the hidden wonders of foreign country that only a local could show them, or meeting executives and dignitaries in some of the most exciting and fastest growing economies. For me, it was a time to go home and relax with friends and family. You see, in order for me to take up this wonderful experience at Wharton, I had to make the decision to put an ocean or two between me and my fiancé. He currently resides in New Zealand, a 21-hour flight away at the very least. And I am definitely not alone – I would guess that more than half of my year entered school with a significant other.
For those whose partners are here, it can potentially be a tough and lonely adjustment for them. The good news is that the Wharton community is very welcoming to better halves. Partners are invited to all the parties, to join the clubs and societies, and to meet others in the same situation through the active Wharton Partners Club (www.whartonpartners.org). I have personally met many partners and (very cute) kids at dinner parties, and they certainly seem to have formed a bond with each other.
For those whose partners are in another US city, the challenge is getting into a routine of who-goes-where-which-weekend. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it has been said that partners who spend time in Philadelphia (say, maybe splitting the travel half-and-half), tend to be more understanding of the school life and hence find the temporary separation more tolerable.
And lastly, for those whose partners are not conveniently located, you have to make choices when it comes to how you spend your breaks. While I admit that seeing the amazing Facebook posts of my classmates did spark a tiny bit of envy, there is no doubt that I made the right decision to go home for Winter Break. I had a lovely time celebrating one of my best friend’s wedding in Byron Bay, gorging myself on Christmas day with family in Sydney, relaxing by Lake Taupo in New Zealand with my fiancé and squeezing in some wedding planning in Auckland (which should be a management subject in its own right but that’s another post).
The purpose of this post is not to lament the idea of “missing out” because you value your other half. To be honest, there is so much on offer at Wharton that you will always feel like you could do more, and the key to making the most of it is to know when to call time and take a break!