Midterm season in Milan is finally over and what a wake up call it truly was. Classes at Bocconi are very comparable to Northwestern classes in terms of difficulty, but not so much in terms of how you are assessed. At Northwestern, your grade is typically broken down into multiple categories including but not limited to: homework, quizzes, group assignments, participation, essays, midterm/final exams etc. This diversification not only ensures that you steadily keep up with the materials, but also relieves some of the stress that comes along with a majority of your grade relying on one exam or essay. After midterms here at Bocconi, I am realizing how much I took homework or as I called it, “busy work”, for granted. At Bocconi, your grade is pretty much determined by one or two (if you’re lucky) exams — talk about pressure! If you’re really lucky, you can find classes with group projects that could ultimately boost your grade. But for the most part, there is virtually no homework at Bocconi. So not only do you not get those opportunities to improve your grade, there is a lot of temptation to take advantage of your freedom here and to cram everything in the night before the exam — especially if you’re a non-attending student. Speaking from my own experience here, this does NOT end well. My excitement of being on another continent and my overwhelming desire to travel every weekend unsurprisingly shifted my focus away from academics.
That is why I took this midterm season as a wake up call and as an opportunity for me to shift my priorities. Bocconi has such a wide range of classes that would appeal to anyone looking at a career in the business world. I am thoroughly enjoying my classes (leadership skills, management of fashion companies, business strategy, and financial markets and institutions) and I look forward to taking advantage of being at such an elite European business school and truly engaging with the material that is inherently applicable to my career goals. For the second half of my semester, I will fully dedicate myself to trying to find a balance between academic success and cultural immersion and exploration.
From finding the perfect balance between travelling every weekend and exploring your host city (maybe studying a little bit…or a lot) or the balance between eating pizza and pasta everyday and eating a carbless meal every once in awhile– a semester abroad is a balancing act.