Austin Phillips, (MBA 2020) knows a little bit about stress. In addition to being in the Willamette MBA class of 2020, he also has a Master’s in Public Health from Oregon Health and Science University (2013). Dang!! Read below for his tips to combat the craziness that is #WillametteMBA. Included as well: pictures of his new baby – Bullwinkle
If I had to describe the last year of my life (and my first year in Willamette University’s MBA for Professionals) program, I would describe it as “living inside a tornado.” Between working at least forty hours a week, spending eight hours a week in class, doing homework, sleeping, and everything else that is necessary for survival, I have felt like there are not enough hours in the day. This resulted in multiple meltdowns and needing help being talked off the ledge. And perhaps I’m going out on the ledge by saying this, but based on what I’ve heard and seen, I’m not the only MBA student who has felt like this. But what I’ve learned over the last year (besides how to read financial statements, negotiate, and engage employees) is that freaking out isn’t a magic spell that can make the mountain of work get smaller. So, I had to find new, more constructive tactics for managing everything and being a happier, less anxious student.
Work Activity into Your Daily Life
According to science, getting regular activity is important
for staying physically healthy. Some recent
studies have also shown that even a little bit of physical activity can
lead to happiness. However, it can be challenging on some days to carve out
time to go running or go to the gym. The solution: find ways to squeeze
activity into your daily routine! Do you have a dog? If so, take your dog for a
walk. They get 15 minutes of exercise and you get 15 minutes of exercise!
(Unless your dog is like my French Bulldog, Bullwinkle, and opts to sit down or
take a nap two minutes into a walk.)
Are you fortunate enough to live within 5-10 miles of work?
Then walk or bike to work. You get some activity AND you save on gas for your
car! You can also laugh at the traffic as you fly by all of the cars that are
Automate Your Life
I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, “I know we’ve
made some great technological advances, but I’m still not a machine. How can I
make my life automated?” I’m so glad you asked! Do you have a checking account
with online bill pay? If so, set up recurring payments for your bills. Or if
you’re like me and pay for 95% of your expenses with a credit card to get
travel points, most merchants (such as Netflix)
will let you schedule recurring payments where they charge your credit card
(and then you can get your points, and use them for a big post-graduation
vacation). What a time we live in.
Another tactic I use (which Lacie
covered previously) is to meal prep at the beginning of the week. In any
given week, I’ll make the same breakfast and same lunch. I’m sure I sound
incredibly boring right now, but making only two different things means I’m not
spending several hours of my weekend doing food prep. More importantly, having
the same thing means I don’t have to spend 30 minutes every day pondering what
I want for lunch, and then spend another 15 minutes and $10-15 trying to
procure it. I’ve recently started preparing giant batches of cold brew coffee
as part of my food prep, because in about five minutes (of active time), I can
make coffee for an entire week!
Build Your Tribe
No man is an island. And as The Beatles taught us, “We get
by with a little help from our friends.” So get out there and find some (at
least five) people who inspire you to live your best life. Your classmates in
the program will be dealing with the same things as you (as far as balancing
work, school, and family). Lean on them, and I am sure they will need to lean
on you occasionally. Having a good support crew at home is also critical to
staying grounded. My significant other listens to me vent about my daily
stressors, and has been willing to take on more of the household chores so I
can have more time to focus on class reading and studying. Bullwinkle tries to
be a great sounding board too, but he usually just responds with grunting or
With a few Jedi tricks (i.e., minor tweaks) to my routine
(and no anti-anxiety meds), I’ve been able to stay calmer and thrive in school
and life. So go take a couple of deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re
awesome, and then apply some of these tricks to your life. You got this!
As part of our busy lives as MBA-P students, it is easy to fall into the fast food trap. You know the one. The “I-just-got-off-work-but-have-hours-of-reading” situation. Never fear! Lacie Walker (MBA 2020) has put together her Top Five Go-To recipes to share with the busy professional student.
Lacie, who works full-time at a busy investment firm, is known for prepping her meals on the weekends. She even preps meals for her husband, Thomas, to eat on the nights that she has class! When not working, studying, or food prepping, she enjoys traveling around Oregon, or just spending time at home with Thomas, their two dogs (Bentley and Dakota) and two cats (Fatty and Peter). She uses her meal prepping as a way to destress and relax on the weekends.
1. No prep – Beef and Broccoli Teriyaki
1 lb. thinly sliced steak (I buy mine pre-sliced to save time)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup soy sauce (or liquid amino)
4 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
Add sliced steak + cornstarch into gallon-sized freezer bag. Shake bag until all sides of steak pieces are coated. Seal bag, removing air.
In a quart sized bag, combine soy sauce or amino, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.
Label a new gallon-sized freezer bag. Add to labeled bag the sealed steak with cornstarch bag, sealed sauce bag, and add in broccoli florets on top. Seal bags together and freeze.
QUICK THAW: Thaw steak and sauce packets quickly by running under warm water until you can break the packets up. Or place the whole kit in the fridge first thing in the morning so the meat will be thawed by dinner time.
COOK IN WOK OR LARGE SKILLET: Add 3-4 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil over high heat. Pour steak into wok, stir-fry, separating the pieces, about 3-4 minutes. Add broccoli, cook 1-2minutes. Add sauce, and cook, stirring for 1 minute until sauce thickens. Serve with boil in bag rice or with butter lettuce for a low carb option.