Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 2

That was yesterday.

Already I missed one commitment - writing the diary every day.

I have an excuse - I did write a lot yesterday. The story was not very dissimilar from that of rest of my life. I took up a Masters course in Marketing Management in the midst of all the chaos around me. Lot of people told me I was very brave; but I guess the real reason was that I did not think. However, I run into expected trouble with coursework, which was due yesterday. A case study on a Dutch Kitchen Manufacturing chain - Bruzyneel Keukens - and I was supposed to give them suggestions on the factors they should consider while designing a new supply chain in view of their growing retail operation.

I knew my colleagues in the class were working on this for a long time. They did loads of studies on supply chain. I did take out books on supply chain from the library, read the table of contents, and kept them for an appropriate day when I can really read them and write an excellent piece of coursework. Of course, that day never came.

I have lots of excuse. I was travelling. I had enough trouble at the business front. And I did make those excuses. I wrote to my tutor and the course director on 16th requesting an extension of the deadline. And, even to my surprise, spent the day of 16th expecting a reply and not starting to work on the case study.

So, on 17th morning, yesterday, I got this mail from the Course Administrator that I can get an extension of upto 15 days. But, I have to fill out an application stating my reasons, and then the faculty committee will decide whether that is valid enough. They can accept or reject my application, and in case they reject it, the marks will be capped at 40%.

She presented me with an interesting, but not too unfamiliar, predicament. I could then rush - that was 11am on the last day already and I hadn't even read the case study - and run the possibility of getting it all wrong and fail. Or I could take the time, apply with reasons, and come back with a more prepared work. In case my application is successful, that will result in higher grades. In case it is not, I shall still pass.

So, which option did I take?

Of course, almost instinctively, I excused myself from work, shut down my mobile phone, logged out of email accounts and spent the next eleven hours to meet the impossible deadline. When I finished, late at night, and emailed the work just before midnight, I thought I had some good ideas but the execution could have been much better. In fact, I thought I had some great ideas but just did not have the time to crystalize it and write it better.

Funnily, this has always happened in all my exams in life. I was always last minute, I was always in panic, I always had great ideas and I never executed well because it was too last minute. This is an interesting trait, and something which I must get rid of if I have to achieve anything substantial in the next 35 years of my life.

But, also, as I think now, my reaction to that form and appeal have been very interesting. By any sort of reasoning, I should have applied for the extension. However, I did not and took the risk instinctively. I must admit that I am kicking myself now when I am thinking with a cool head, but I can not deny my aversion to any kind of application form. That felt like really being a student, and yes, I felt distinctly uncomfortable.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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