Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lessons Learned This Week

It is indeed possible to blow-dry your hair and fine-tune a Powerpoint presentation at the same time, standing in front of your bathroom mirror at 7 a.m. That's why God gave us two hands. Introduce a hairbrush into the mix, that's where priorities come in. If you can switch off between the hair brush and the keyboard in rapid succession, that's efficiency.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CHO Early

Seriously -

Charlottesvile-Albermarle Airport has got to be the only place in the country where you arrive *early* - regardless of whether you're flying into it or out of it. At least based on my experiences this weekend.

It's kind of awesome, actually.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

We're Clueless, By Golly

Dear Section B,

You realize that everyone else thinks we're insane, right?

I mean, can you blame them? Between our tradition to highlight the both the smartest and stupidest contribution every week -- where the stupidest is far more revered -- and our penchant for banging on the desks and stomping on the floors every morning, I guess I can see how the other sections might not "get it".

Sections at Darden are intended to foster community spirit. The Class of 2010 has 334 students, but for the first half of our first year, we take all of our classes with the same group of 65 or so. That way, we can see the same smiling faces every morning - and ostensibly so that we can get to know each other better.

But Section B has taken bonding to a whole new level, because a team that's crazy together, stays together.

Every Monday, we start out by yelling and pounding the desks to greet the week. Mondays are also Theme Day, which allow us to show off the more ridiculous sides of our wardrobes. Past themes include "Pajama Day" and "Monochromatic Day". The yelling and pounding of desks continues all through the week, at whim, and we round up the week with a rousing rendition of the Section B song at the end of last class.

And let's not forget - "The Bird" and "The Finger." The Bird is awarded to the most ridiculous comment or action of the past week (and behavior on drunken, raucous nights out is not exempt). It's the badge of honor that everyone hates. The (foam) Finger is awarded to the best, most thoughtful or educational comment of the week. It's a true badge of honor, that allows you to interject in any class discussion, as you please.

I've had deans tell me that sections are assigned completely randomly but I find that increasingly harder and harder to believe. We definitely have a disproportionate amount of crazy in section B. They like to remind us of this when we're seen at First Coffee in footsie pajamas.

But as a result, we're also the closest section - I can't think of a single thing that has helped me acclimate to this new environment better or faster than the insanity of Section B. I've never been at a school with any semblance of school spirit before, but I could get used to this. I know that wherever I am, whether it's a speaker event or a recruiting cocktail hour, if I can seek out a fellow Section B classmate, I'll always have someone to talk to.

You're a nutty bunch, Section B - but I've become quite fond of you.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Little Bit of the City in the Country

Dear Charlottesville,

You and I have some ground to make up. I can't help it, I'm a city girl at heart. Before Darden, I spent my entire life in New York - splitting my time between Long Island and Manhattan. This is my first time away from home. And I gotta say - it's been a pretty drastic change.

People drive the speed limit here. And they yield to pedestrians. This mystifies me.

Service in restaurants is slower. I haven't gotten out of a sitdown dinner in less than two hours.

And don't get me started on the shopping. Virtually non-existent. Especially for clothes. Apparently for such things, one has to go to Richmond.

But this weekend, you made up for your shortcomings, C-ville. Saturday morning, I went to the farmer's market that is held near the downtown mall every week. It was wonderful.

There were so many booths overflowing with fresh local fruits and vegetables. I spoke with a goat farmer who is working against the state regulations against raw milk. I bought a crisp green apple from a lovely couple who so kindly washed it for me on the spot so I could eat it right away. I brought home the best pie I have eaten in a long time, and a gorgeous bundle of wildflowers which are currently brightening my living room.

That's not all - on the downtown mall, I found a charming bookstore that I spent some time browsing. I adore bookstores, and this one did not disappoint. It wasn't a corporate behemoth, but rather a small lovely rare & used books store. It had personality, and I spent almost an hour browsing the stacks. An hour is a long time to spare when you're a Darden student.

That evening, I went to dinner with a few friends on Main Street, and the food was so good, I felt like I was in NY again. Come to think of it, I haven't had a bad meal in Charlottesville yet.

So maybe there's more to you than I initially thought, C-ville. I'll have to give you another chance.


All The Things I Never Thought I'd Do

Dear Darden,

I can hardly believe it's only been 6 weeks since I got here. It sounds like so little, and yet, I can barely remember life before you.

I've been dreaming about bottlenecks, and normal distribution curves. I live in serious fear of the cold call, and my little gold name badge is always within reach. I drop my name tent at least six times a day, but my lovely Section B neighbor is always kind enough to pick it up - although he might start charging me for the service soon.

I never thought I'd become addicted to coffee, but yet - the minute the clock strikes 9:25, I'm ready to bolt from my seat towards the PepsiCo forum. And the damndest thing is - my internal alarm clock has already reset itself to wake up in time for 8 a.m. class.

The 100-case party is looming within the next week, and yet we're less than 10% of the way through all the cases we can anticipate reading. Company briefings have started, even though we're nearly a year away from the first day of our internship. It's all madness.

But it's been a great ride so far. I've already made a few really great friends, and hope to make more amongst the amazingly talented group of folks that are here. There's so much more to learn, so much sleep to lose, and a lot more work to do.

Month 1 down, only 18 more to go. I'd better make the most of it. Can't wait!