A Day in the Life…of a Less Traditional Summer


By: Kanyisa Ncemane ’15

Simple Instructions on How to spend the summer of Your First-Year of B-School:

  1. Don’t Be Like Me.

About a week (or seven…) ago, our extremely understanding (patient, kind, talented and awesome…) CWiB VP of Marketing, Kristen Bierfeldt,  asked me to put together a blog under the “A Day in the Life…” series. So, yesterday, after a couple of gentle reminders from Kristen – I began to document the contents of “a day in the life of a… Summer Slacker”

Thursday, 24th July 2014 (day 71 of 103)

6:00 – Wake-up.

6:01 – Curse disobedient internal body-clock, roll-over and fall back to sleep.

9:23 – Wake-up again.

9:25 – Check Instagram. Chuckle at the miserable winter my South African friends and family are having. No filter can hide that doom and gloom buddies…#instaNYCsummer.

9:31 – Check Facebook. Chuckle again at the miserable winter my South African friends and family are having.

9:42 – Check Whatsapp. Catch-up on gossip on the family Whatsapp group (my cousin and his wife have just gotten a new puppy and they are letting it stay in the house…with the humans…what a SCANDAL). Reply to some or other silly wise cracks my brothers have written while the other hemisphere was sleeping (it’s now 6 hours later so my responses are in general way too delayed to even sound vaguely witty… curse you latitude and your time zones).

9:54 – Switch on TV. Flick through channels… Stop on the Steve Harvey show… linger for longer than is acceptable (where does Steve Harvey buy these awful suits? Fascinating).

10:23 –Check cellphone. Die of shock – I have less than 7 minutes to get to my gym appointment.

10:24– Send text to Mel (unreasonably attractive personal trainer) to tell him that the metro is delayed. Lies.

10:25 – Search for clean gym clothes. Futile.

10: 35 – Catch 1 train to gym on 95th and Broadway.

10: 42 – Arrive at gym.

10: 43 – Get on treadmill. Stand on stationary treadmill.

10:45 – Mel spots me, comes over, asks how long I’ve been running for. I respond: “11 minutes”. Another lie.

11:00 – Struggle through 5 push-ups. Mel asks me what I have had for breakfast. I respond: “oatmeal”. More lies.

11:30 – Leave gym feeling like I’ve been trampled by a family of elephants. I really should eat before I come here.

11:49 – Arrive at my building. Catch-up with my doorman – James. He is awesome and basically my only friend between the hours of 9am and 6pm … (yes… Kelly, Leslie and Jess… this is the part where you feel bad about never taking my calls because you are “at work”…whatever.)

12:15 – Go upstairs.

12: 17 – Get into the shower.

12:35 – Get out of the shower (yes… you read right… I take 18minute showers. It’s a self-awarded summer slacker privilege).

12:36 – Search for clean clothes. Again…futile.

12:37 – Prepare lunch. Today’s menu: Bran Flakes and Soya Milk. My favorites.

12: 41 – Take daily “power nap”.

15:23 – Wake up from “power nap”. Get angry at myself for “over-doing” the napping. Give myself a mental lecture about how I am wasting my summer and how I should really get out and do something. Explore New York. Read a GOOD book. Go to the Guggenheim. Take a cooking class. Practice my mandarin.

15:25 – Exhausted from the mental lecture, I reward myself with another quick nap.

16:00 – Switch on TV. Watch two back-to-back episodes of Dr. Phil (the USA content is so much better than what we get in South Africa – we’re still airing Season 1… I think the show may have still been finding its feet at that point. Not the same.).

17:30 – Prepare dinner. Today’s menu: Almonds and 3 week old yoghurt (I stand firm in the belief that expiry dates are purely illustrative).

18:00 – Watch TV. Oh look… another Law & Order SVU re-run. Fantastic.

20:12 – Agonize about how to force a cable subscription into my monthly budget.  It’s a fairly complicated decision:  the rent or cable?  Abort.

21:00 – Check emails. Read emails.

21: 01 – Mark emails as “unread”. Mentally file under “emails I should really respond to”. I am living in a sea of black.

21:05 – Read two pages of Junot Diaz’s “The Brief  Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”. Yawn. Pass out.

And that was my yesterday. In all fairness – not all of the 71 days of this summer have been like yesterday. I have had a wonderful time. I spent a month in Asia (the picture above is from Day 42 in Halong Bay, Vietnam), two wonderful weeks traveling America (it is so under-rated!) with my awesome parents and am about to embark on a glorious trip to Greece and Spain with some of my oldest and most loyal friends.

So how did I end up here? I didn’t recruit for an internship. By the time the recruiting season came around (exactly three weeks after I’d started at CBS… don’t believe a word of what they say… it more than JUST sneaks up on you!) I hadn’t a clue of what I wanted to do with my life. For the most part – I still don’t. I do know myself a lot better, however. I know what it is that I don’t want. I have taken this time to figure at least that out. So to the candidates who join us at CBS this Fall – go back to the instructions I gave at the beginning of this blog: Don’t be like ME. Be like YOU. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the excitement and the angst (and there will be angst) that comes with the first year of B-school. Stay true to YOU.

I look forward to meeting all of you soon.


About cwib blog

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is an organization that strives to provide Columbia Business School women with resources and contacts to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal development. CWIB is committed to working with faculty, administrators, alumni and the greater business community to promote the role of and opportunities for women in business.
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