After a weekend of rain in Charlottesville, the sun is shining, the wind is gently blowing, and I am sitting on my balcony watching the little spurts of activity in Ivy Gardens as people start their Sunday errands. It feels good to enjoy a peaceful morning, and as I sit here, I can’t help but realize that this is going to be the best year of my life.
I imagine before I write much more I should apologize for being a black hole these last few months. Spring and summer somehow flew by, and between wrapping up first year, traveling, and completing my summer internship, everything feels like a blur. I had an great summer (I was working for a consulting firm in New York City), and despite finishing my internship only a few weeks ago, the summer already seems like a distant memory. Perhaps it was some time away from Darden, or another glimpse into the “real world” but I cannot describe how good it feels to be back in the groove of business school life.
As a Second Year, I am a pro at navigating Darden - I know the systems, I know people, and I know how to manage my day. I am not stressed about my capacity to handle the work and extracurricular load. I am engrossed in my classes and energized by my leadership roles. My day-to-day life is significantly different from last year: I went to the gym every day this week. I cooked at lunches and dinners at home multiple times (and no, that doesn’t include defrosting frozen meals!). I read my cases outside in the fresh air and took time to soak in the beauty of Charlottesville. I have caught up with friends and classmates, but instead of discussions about recruiting or gossiping about a dramatic situation in our most recent class, I have had deeper conversations about life, values, and goals. I have even had time to play some golf.
Oddly enough – the reasons above are not the reasons why I think this is going to be the best year of my life. While it is nice to have control over my schedule (really nice, actually), the more incredible thing about this year is that for the first time in a very long time, I have to ask myself some very hard questions and start laying a foundation for the rest of my life. I don’t get the luxury of walking down a prescribed path or knowing my next step. Instead, I have to explore unchartered territory and figure out my own path. I have to get to the core of who I am and what I fundamentally want out of my life, and make decisions that will require me to be true to that authentic self. I have to realize that what got me this far in my life and career, may not be what gets me to the next level of my personal and professional leadership; and so I have to look deep inside of myself and start breaking down the habits and patterns of behavior that have been instilled in me for years. I imagine a lot of this seems nebulous, but the point is – for me, my second year in business school is going to be about being purposeful and getting to the bottom of some rather difficult questions, designing and developing my own criteria for success, and really, truly learning. So while this is going to be the best year of my life, I seems it will also be one of the hardest years at times. Either way - I am excited :)