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Surviving COVID-19 lockdown by a one year MBA student

Prodigy Finance Ambassador Riona Rooplal - May 07, 2020

Riona outside - when it was allowed!

I needed to move my career to the next level. My dream was to always obtain my one year MBA but why not achieve this in a beautiful country, and gain the experience and networking that comes with an international masters? So I set out to fulfil this dream. I gave up the comforts of life back in South Africa, packed up and moved abroad to study my 1 year MBA program full-time. Reflecting back on how far I have come gives me pride, but the obstacles still remain before I can finally finish what I set out to.

Turning a dream into reality

Anyone currently studying full-time will know very well that there is a ton of work that is governed by due dates. Living in a 21m2 apartment (with the tiniest kitchen sink I have ever seen) has created the focused peace and quiet I need to concentrate on my studies during this lockdown period. But there are good and bad sides to this peace and quiet. Trying to read the numerous articles for each subject in order to partake in the class sessions, then pondering about finding a job after my classes are over, can sometimes lead to anxiety in all shapes and forms. So down the rabbit hole I go. “Was leaving everything I loved and treasured back home worth this? Was leaving my job, family and friends worth this?”. Being locked down for over a month, and the choices we students across the world have to now face, starts to test one’s sanity.

Typical grad student room in Grenoble

After much deliberation, I have realised that my dream to study a one year MBA in Europe was always going to be tough. Challenges will always be there, but it is how we choose to deal with them that counts. And I choose to embrace them with gratitude. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad, something I wanted to experience. I am grateful that I was accepted into a top one year MBA program that has the subjects I wanted to learn. And I am grateful for living in a beautiful city.

Currently there are many days filled with anxiety for applying for jobs, and receiving in return those endless replies of “thank you for your application, unfortunately we will be proceeding with other candidates’ applications”. This is now the existence of thousands of students around the world. But these are the times, we students need to make that choice, accept the challenges, process them and eventually find that job that you were destined for.

Absorbing the emotions of being trapped in my tiny apartment I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s beautiful poem ‘Rise’. All students who are in a foreign country, away from your loved ones, not knowing when you can embrace their warm hugs - this is the time to work your reality into your new dream. I know that you, and I, will rise through this.

"Rise" by Maya Angelou

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