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I roar in frustration as I tear around my room trying to find my shoes. I really want to make it downstairs for breakfast before class – for me, a Herculean feat. Locating my shoes (which were, of course, right by the door), I clatter down the stairs to the restaurant, grab my usual breakfast, and drop heavily into the booth.

Me in less stressful times.

I shovel down my food (attractive, I know) to make it to class on time. Germans are generally sticklers for punctuality, and while that’s not usually my strong suit, I make an effort in Seeheim. Today’s the first day of the course, and I want to get there a little early.

As we walk into the classroom, we first go over to greet our trainer, as German etiquette demands. Niceties completed, we all talk energetically, catching up with those who didn’t make it to dinner last night. At 8:58, our trainer begins to fidget, and at 9:01, he breaks in to begin the class.

Our topic is project management. I have an undergraduate degree in business management, so I’ve already taken some courses on the subject, but I’m interested in hearing it from a German perspective, as well as learning some new tools for project planning.

The trainer doesn’t disappoint. After a brief introduction round, we jump right into the material. We discuss the four stages of a project, and break into teams to assign sub-tasks to the stages. We learn about stakeholder analysis and engagement, and then create a chart using a case we’re given. It’s interesting and invigorating, and given that I had less than four hours of sleep last night, I hold up well.

The four stages of a project.

We break at 1:00 for lunch … and then my problems begin. The food, jet lag, and lack of sleep hit me like a brick, leaving me struggling valiantly to stay awake. I can feel my eyeballs twitching with the effort, and I’m forced to resort to pinching myself. Looking around the room, I can tell I’m not the only one in my predicament; fortunately, the trainer notices, and gives us plenty of group work to keep us active.

At least some people still have energy …

By the end of the day, though, I’m pretty much a zombie. I flop onto my bed, promptly passing out. I wake up long enough for dinner, but head back to my room rather early. Not only am I still exhausted, but I need extra sleep to prepare for tomorrow – after all, it’s Disko Dienstag!

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