I have returned safely from “boot camp”, as it was often referred to by many of my co-workers. Last I wrote, I was on my way to Boston to attend a very intensive, week-long training course. I was dreading it completely because of the horror stories of too much food, too much caffeine and sugar, too-long days, and too little sleep. In addition to being called “boot camp”, it was likened by one co-worker to childbirth… “you have to experience it to fully appreciate it”.
Coming out the other side of this class, I have to say it really wasn’t so bad. Yes, the food was plentiful, but there were so many healthy options… hummus, guacamole, lots of fruits… I did partake of some of the less healthy options (yes, I had too much caffeine and a bit too much sugar…), but I tried to keep it to a minimum. Dinner had mostly meat-based options, but the hotel was great in accommodating my diet. Not always vegan, but certainly vegetarian. I even got some quinoa and roasted veggies on the last night! I’m proud to say that I only gained 1.5 pounds!
Yes, the days were long. But at least they weren’t as long as I was led to believe. We started class most days at 8:00 a.m. and we worked until about midnight or so. No group sessions until 3:00 a.m. as I feared.
And yes, there was too little sleep. Other than night #1, I slept, on average, 3-4 hours a night. The challenge was, after attending class from about 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and then doing homework from 7:30 until “whenever it was done”, it was hard to turn your brain off. We all actually dreamt about numbers and rehashed all the decisions we made in regards to our fictional company. It was so hard to just go to sleep! So I checked work emails and played games on my phone until about 3:00 a.m. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any trouble getting through the subsequent days.
It was tough sitting all day, and breaks weren’t really long enough to go for a walk, but when we could, we did a lap around the building, or stood during break out sessions, to try to get some movement. The learning environment was intense, and not necessarily conducive to good health, but it is an MIT graduate class that they cram into five days! What would you expect?
Despite the less than ideal conditions, I am actually glad I finally took this class — I got so much out of it! The hardest part for me was actually dealing with some of the group dynamics. Our group was better than some of the others in terms of cohesion (the others had some language barriers with attendees from Brazil, Taiwan, and Korea), but any time you have a mix of people with differing opinions, it’s bound to be challenging!
The boys survived the week and seemed to have some fun times. Mini-golf, ice cream, and a baseball game kept them occupied in my absence. My thanks to my hubby for holding down the fort, taking great care of Ethan, and getting ready for Ethan’s birthday party on Saturday. I would never have been ready to have the party without the help of David and my Aunt (who did most of the cooking). It was a great way to end a stressful week!
IMDb: Boot Camp (2008)