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April 28, 2017
Over the course of this semester, I and few other students worked on a group project for our Organizational Behavior class. And in thinking of potentially relevant topics to explore, my team settled on the question, “Should salaried employees be expected to complete work outside of normal hours?”
This question has become increasingly relevant in recent years with improvements in communication technology and the first generation that grew up texting and navigating social media now in the workforce. So, to help answer this question and gather varying perspectives, my team planned out our research methods. Ultimately, we conducted five interviews with current business professionals, polled campus opinion through a Qualtrics survey, and searched for scholarly secondary research to guide and round out our findings. Then, we analyzed the survey data to gauge statistically significant results and looked for common themes across our interviews.
I think about the work we did and how if I had been assigned a similar project in high school, I may have felt extreme pressure, wondering where to even start. But I’ve come a long way through my years at UR and this project, while still a lot of work, appeared well within my capabilities to complete it. And that’s the overall point of this post: again and again in your academic career—and beyond that, too—you will constantly be impressed with how much you can accomplish. What you once thought was a stress-inducing mountain of a project to complete will soon become something that you’re confident you can undertake.
In particular, the professional interviews would have seemed like a daunting task for me had I been assigned a similar project during my freshman year. I had few connections to professionals outside of parents or other relatives. But now, after a few years at the university, I’ve begun to develop a small network that I feel comfortable reaching out to for advice or assistance on a school project.
This realization, that I’ve constantly expanded my capabilities, has lent to a renewed sense of confidence as I progress towards my senior year and ever nearer to being booted out into the real world.
Oh, and if you’re curious as to what my team found out through our project, we came to the conclusion that it depends—the answer to almost all questions in OB. We determined that overall, allowing employees to disconnect from work and establish a distinct work-life balance can offer a multitude of benefits—both for employees and their employer. In a business environment where employee burnout is a major concern, rest after a long day in the office can be a necessity if workers are going to stay engaged in their job. Yet, work emergencies, particular industries, and an increasing percentage of workers that habitually respond to emails immediately all complicate the answer.
Why UR?A simple answer to the question "Why UR?" would be to say that it just felt right. Though, whereas that isn't inaccurate, I know how vague and frustrating an answer like that can be for readers. So, I will try to explain myself. The University of Richmond, as I researched it more and more, became continually more appealing. Every new thing I learned became another reason to attend. (That certainly was not the case with other schools.) I didn't have to wrestle with thoughts like, "I guess I can live with that" or "Maybe it won't seem like that when I'm actually there." In fact, even viewing the university with a critical eye, it was difficult to find something bad to say about it. That may sound like I'm simply affirming my final decision, but it's not easy to answer that question without directly showing someone what I'm trying to articulate. UR is a place that, although ripe for descriptive writing, must be experienced firsthand to truly understand. That, I believe, says more than any list of reasons ever could.