Over the weekend, Jodi Kantor of the New York Times wrote about Harvard Business School's years-long "gender makeover" project, which sought to "remake gender relations at the business school." The overhaul was, in many ways, a success—the George F. Baker Scholar Luncheon, held to honor the top five percent in each graduating class, for example, included 40 percent women in 2013:
It was a remarkable rise that no one could precisely explain. Had the professors rid themselves of unconscious biases? Were the women performing better because of the improved environment? Or was the faculty easing up in grading women because they knew the desired outcome?
“To my head, all three happened,” Professor Piskorski said.
That's great, and Kantor's story is worth your time, especially if you're considering business school somewhere down the line. But, gosh, does business school sound stressful. On dating during your MBA: "she had quickly discerned that her classmates tended to look at their social lives in market terms, implicitly ranking one another." On personal risks: "'I’d like to be candid, but I paid half a million dollars to come here,' another man said in an interview, counting his lost wages. 'I could blow up my network with one wrong comment.'" And on making plans after graduation: "You can either be a frontier charger or have an easier, happier life."
It's enough to make you think about your future. Which brings us to these calming words of wisdom from one Delia Ephron, in "You Can’t Have It All, but You Can Have Cake" in the NYT opinion pages on Saturday:
Personally, I believe having it all can last longer than that. It might be a fleeting moment — drinking a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning when the light is especially bright. It might also be a few undisturbed hours with a novel I’m in love with, a three-hour lunch with my best friend, reading “Goodnight Moon” to a child, watching a Nadal-Federer match. Having it all definitely involves an ability to seize the moment, especially when it comes to sports. It can be eating in bed when you’re living on your own for the first time or the first weeks of a new job when everything is new, uncertain and a bit scary. It’s when all your senses are engaged. It’s when you feel at peace with someone you love. And that isn’t often. Loving someone and being at peace with him (or her) are two different things. Having it all are moments in life when you suspend judgment. It’s when I attain that elusive thing called peace of mind.
Not particularly American, unquantifiable, unidentifiable, different for everyone, but you know it when you have it.
I have already eaten in bed today. Tonight, I will watch the Nadal-Djokovic match. I did it, Delia.
Photo via andyonflickr/flickr.