“Can you really have it all?”
This is a common trap question for women with an obvious answer of “No”. But do you think the response will change if the same question is posed to men. A thoughtful reply will still be the same. A simple reason being that the definition of “all” is vague. We as human beings want to maximize our potential without knowing the real limits.
Instead of wondering whether I can have it all, I always think about what matters to me and then ask myself a question “Can I do it all?” And again, the answer is not a simple yes or no. We all have multiple choices but only a single resource of time that we can distribute among these choices. Figuring out the best way to allocate my time to my personal and professional life is what I am constantly trying to do at Wharton.
Moving from Albany to Philadelphia, I was excited to embark on a new journey but at the same time was feeling nervous about the new responsibilities. The question that kept bothering me was would I be able to spend enough time with my family while being engaged in activities at school. Yes, I moved to Philly with my husband and 14 months old daughter, Shreyaa.
What does being a mother at Wharton mean? This is again one of the questions that is hard for me to answer in one word. However, it is all about making choices. For example, during pre-term, when almost everyone from WG18 was meeting, in evenings, at Irish Pub or Drinkers, I was spending quality time with my little one. I missed making early bonds with my classmates but then after spending a whole day at school, I felt the need to be with my daughter for sometime before she goes to bed. Similarly, I preferred to skip the White Party to take my daughter to a kid’s park. None of those decisions was easy. However, understanding early the need to balance my time between my family and Wharton will definitely help me in the next two years.
On the other side, being a mom is not always about making sacrifices. I earned a special place for myself just because I am a mom. Only 1 percent of the female students in the class of 2018 are moms. Many remember me because there are only four moms in WG18 batch. Even, some of the admitted students whom I met during Welcome Weekend recognized me because I shared this fact in my introduction.
Ultimately, we all are here to create our own Wharton experience. I feel that the added responsibility of being a mother helps me channel my efforts towards my goals. I am trying to get better at organizing my work and efficiently completing assignments so that I can spend more time with my daughter. I am also learning to make choices that are more aligned towards my interest. For example, I joined the WWIB sponsorship team so that I can be involved with the Wharton Women community and connect with people whom I have not interacted so far.
Being a mother at school is not easy. A strong family support is definitely required to make this happen. My husband chose to work from home so that I can be involved in activities at school. My daughter goes to day-care but I know that my husband is around to reach out to her, if required. His choice of working from home may not be good for his career but this option takes away any pressure from me while I am at school.
I always look up to my mother for all the sacrifices she has made in her life and career for my brother and me to be successful. She gives me the strength to continue working hard and I hope one day my daughter can feel the same about me.