Guest post by Mattie Winistorfer, a wonderful 2016 Blue Dot! Mattie’s fiance is a current student here at Foster, and she is a member of the ‘Blue Dots’ – the network of spouses and significant others whose loved ones are in the Foster MBA program. The name comes from the blue dot stickers that were put on their name tags during Admitted Student Welcome Weekends, to indicate that they were the spouse/significant other of an admitted student.
How did you feel about your significant other choosing the Foster School for his/her MBA studies?
I was crazy excited when my student chose Foster because we were looking for a lifestyle change from Washington DC and Seattle was really our dream destination. You can’t beat the number of career opportunities here, and the ease of access to the outdoors. When we visited for the Preview Weekend in October, Foster’s community was evident from the start. Everyone was so friendly, and seemed genuinely interested in getting to know us, and were happy with their experience in the program. During that same trip, we visited another west coast school and even though it was still a great school, the community just didn’t compare. This was only reinforced when we returned for the Admitted Student Welcome Weekend (which is a really important part of the decision making process). Foster showed us a great time throughout the weekend from the panels, Bollywood TG, and my personal favorite: the duck boat tour.
Moving across the country is a big deal. Did you have any hesitations about moving to Seattle? Did anything help you feel better about the decision?
I have to give credit to my student, he made a huge effort to make me a part of the decision making process. In turn, I was able to feel like the change was our journey; not just a move we were making for him. Attending the Admitted Student Welcome Weekend really helped as well because we were able to meet some of the people that are now some of our best friends from the program.
If you’re looking for housing (or a job) I learned that Foster and the Blue Dot community were really helpful in answering questions when we were moving. To extend the courtesy given to me, I’m happy to field any questions on neighborhoods for incoming students and Blue Dots.
How did you adjust to life when your significant other started the MBA program?
I’ll be honest, the first quarter was really difficult. We made sure to get to Seattle in mid-July so that we would have plenty of time to find housing, sightsee, and settle in before school started…but nothing really prepares you for the transition. The first quarter specifically is really demanding and a big change…and not just for your student. They are facing a lot of pressure to be part of every club, do well on every project, have a social life, and still make time for you. For me, going to events like Pub Club, Blue Dot Happy Hours, TGs, and tailgates helped me meet other students and Blue Dots. They also helped me understand that we weren’t the only couple having a tough time with the transition.
Τhe MBA program is time intensive for students: how have you and your significant other found balance?
Finding time to spend together is crucial and we weren’t so great with it at first. Each week his schedule would be different and I was dealing with a really busy time with work; all while trying to plan our wedding. Eventually we realized that if we could just have 20 minutes where we relaxed and did something together like walk the dog, watch a show, or eat a quick dinner, that was enough. Now it’s gotten a lot better and we find a lot more time for each other, but it’s good to remember that it won’t always be this crazy. The hard work will pay off for them in school, and for you in your patience and support.
Equally important…don’t forget to make time for yourself! After first quarter was over, I realized I was just as drained as my student. I was trying to be overly helpful and focusing more on what his needs were at any given moment and forgetting to attend to my own happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I was having a blast with the Foster community and making lots of great new friends, but I had completely neglected the other things that sustained me before. To find that balance I joined a gym with another Blue Dot, started making a conscious effort to eat better, and made time for myself. In the long run I’m happier and a better support for my student.
How are you involved with the Foster Blue Dots? What type of activities do you do?
I’ve been attending many Blue Dot events since we moved to Seattle. The events I mostly go to have been happy hours or dinners, but I know many are in a book club together. Currently myself and a few other involved Blue Dots are trying to come up with a calendar of events for this upcoming summer and next fall. Often it’s tough to get together on the fly during the week, so we’re thinking of doing planned events to involve the larger group. Right now peddle pub, wine tasting in Woodinville, and paddle boarding are on the list. Any suggestions for activities from existing or future Blue Dots are strongly encouraged! Anyone can plan an event and post to the Facebook wall to share.
Any advice for future Blue Dots?
Get involved! Just because you’re not the student, it doesn’t mean that your involvement is not wanted or encouraged by the Foster community. Blue Dots often take part in student events hosted by the school including speaking events, volunteering through Challenge for Charity (C4C), TGs, Pub Club, Husky tailgates, and school organized trips. Take full advantage of this time and the fun it offers. As a result, you’ll get to see a lot more of your student, better understand what they’re going through, and have a great time.
Go Huskies! (Says the Minnesota Grad)
Guest post by Mattie Winistorfer, 2016 Blue Dot and Graphic Designer. We are all excited for her upcoming wedding in the Fall! For more on the Blue Dots, see their MBAA website or read other blog posts by Blue Dots here.