“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.”

I go to a great school.

The Stockholm School of Economics.

It’s really good. And I mean that in every sense of the word.

It’s not quite the Swedish equivalent of Harvard or Yale, but the closest we get over here. It means that most of the day, I’m surrounded by highly intelligent, utterly brilliant and ambitious people. I go to class, and listen to top researchers. I do projects that are presented to attractive future employers and that challenge me and my fellow students. I haven’t bought hairspray in four years because we always get some in a goodie bag or other.

And sometimes it’s utterly miserable. Because everyone else feels smarter than you. Because you never, ever get to take a break. Because no matter what, you feel like you never catch up. And believe me, sometimes it feels unbearable.

There are tales (urban legends, I’m sure) about the law school students in Sweden. That because they need top grades for certain jobs, they’re ultra-competetive. They are said to rip out pages from important books or hide them so others students can’t find them.

I don’t know if it’s actually true or not, but you’d expect that sort of culture at SSE as well.

That’s the one thing that makes it all worthwhile, sometimes. That it isn’t like at the law schools.

Because I’ve met some of the most caring, most helpful people at my school.

Need to retake an exam? Someone will have their old notes for you.
Missed a few lectures? There is probably a summary of the course someone can send you.
Stuck on an assignment? Just ask someone in the computer room.

A month or so ago, I was working with some others on a group project, and we were well and truly stuck. We were in the computer rooms, discussing how to proceed when the girl sitting next to me turns around and says:
“Oh, is that the management case? I did that last year, do you wanna look at our presentation?”

She had no idea who we were, but she recognized the situation we were in and wanted to help. And next year, I’m sure we’ll do the same.

Pay it forward, as they say.

And that makes everything bearable.