The Graduation Weekend
by Tiff Ng – Graduate of The Nomad MBA, tribe of 2017
Endings are never nice nor easy. And after a three-month adventure like the Nomad MBA, we knew the end would be hard. How do you end an unforgettable experience in the right way? How do you say goodbye to twenty people to whom you’ve grown so close? How do you find closure after so much change?
As a wise nun in the hills of Austria once sang, let’s start from the very beginning. And the Graduation Weekend felt like a return to where we began in Bali during the Bonding Weekend - with 20 people, plonked in the middle of nowhere, ready to take on everything...
The activities of this graduation weekend perfectly embodied the bittersweetness of this last time together. We got to explore the beautiful Halong Bay, get silly during an improv workshop and dance like penguins to Boney M. We also dived into meditation and storytelling workshops, taking the time to stop and recognise just how much we had all changed.
And from that, here are my 3 key takeaways to share with you...
Changes like this are always difficult to quantify or even realise.
They are not a strike of lightning or a movie makeover montage. They’re not particularly profound or revolutionary. They are gradual, happening every day, until one day you look back in retrospect and realise just how far you’ve come.
The sudden formality of the graduation ceremony was a wonderful reminder that the past three months had been truly momentous.
We’ve completed a nanodegree, tackled three remarkable experiences, lived in three countries. We’ve gone through a lot – both individually and as a tribe. We’ve struggled, gone on our ups and downs. We’ve been challenged, we’ve been scared. We’ve made radical decisions and accomplished amazing things.
We left this tribe different to how we had begun – more passionate, driven and with a new vision for our futures
I know it’s a little cliché… You changed after travelling? We all do. But an incredible thing occurs when you can recognise that change not only in yourself, but in a group of 20 individuals who have been there every step of the way with you. You could almost call it magic...
To understand the magic of the final weekend is to understand the trip in itself.
Frankly, sometimes the Nomad MBA can still be hard to explain. Travel and study with 20 other awesome people? Sounds too good to be true, right?
So maybe it’s easier to talk about some of the things we got to experience. - the meditation retreat in Bali, fitness bootcamp in Thailand. We chased sunsets, had scooter adventures and misadventures, tribe dinners and faced the threat of Mount Agung. We could even count the number of buckets drunk, burpees completed, or trips to Pizza 4ps.
But these are just stories; fond travel memories. What will always set the Nomad MBA experience apart from any other travel is the sort of change that occurred. It was the constant support from a passionate tribe and it was the commitment and surrender from each of its members to whatever this experience would bring.
Personal growth isn’t just a buzzword that somehow adds gravitas to what would have just been an amazing three-month travelling adventure.
It’s why we saw Eugenio’s emotional dial creeping up to an 8. It’s why we could get to at least 30 seconds staring into each others eyes before laughing. It’s why, even now we keep turning back to the group chat to recapture the magic that no one else will understand.
Personal growth is truly what defines the last three months.
There are moments in your life you remember for how happy they made you feel.
In fact, it was something that has bookended this entire experience - first at Andy’s session at the Bonding Weekend and again with Eminio during our Personal Growth Weekend. What was a moment when you felt true happiness?
By the end of the trip, it was all too easy to find a moment – or even a few – from the past three months that defined it.
So, how was the Nomad MBA? Well, you just had to be there.