Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tourist-ed Out

On my last trip to NYC, I reveled in the joys of not being a tourist. Being anti-tourist on that trip was somewhat bittersweet, though, as I had still never seen the Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty.

That has all changed, and I'm proud to announce that I have officially completed all touristy activities that I ever want to do in Manhattan.

And I'm tired.

My best friend from home flew in to meet me, and in just four short days, we visited the Met and MOMA, Central Park, shopped on Fifth Ave, rode the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, attempted to take a picture of the bull on Wall Street, saw two Broadway shows, bought cheap t-shirts in Chinatown and visited the Meatpacking District.


From there, we visited DC and covered parts of two of the Smithsonians, the Capital, the Washington Monument, the White House, the WW2 memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington Cemetery. In three hours.

I'm now back in C'ville and welcoming the opportunity that being in class means I can just SIT for a while. I learned a lot about myself and how I see the world this past week. I don't like traveling. Not the type of traveling that involves rushing from site to site trying to cram as much in as possible. I love experiencing things. My favourite night in New York was the night we sat in Union Square and watched one skateboard try again and again to land a kick-flip. (He almost succeeded once before hurting his ankle.)

In other news, second year at Darden has started and it is officially awesome. More on that later...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smooth Sail to the Finish

My boss sent me home at 3 p.m. today.

My final presentation for the summer was this morning, and with a long week behind me (some days up until 2 a.m.), he figured I'd put in enough hours.

All that's left to do is make sure everything is organized and wrapped up for the summer. After months of crunching data and running analyses, it's weird to be doing nothing more than changing the names of a few PowerPoint files and entering some final data into a spreadsheet.

I had a great summer! I'm overwhelmingly glad at how well everything turned out and optimistic about what my efforts this summer will mean for full-time recruiting. I'm also looking forward to working more with Relay through a Darden Business Project sometime over the year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lobster Weekend

In the latest installment of visit-friends-where-they-are-interning this summer, I hopped on a flight to Boston this past weekend. It was my first JetBlue flight, and I must admit that other than issues with the online check-in and confusion about seat availability, it was a great experience! The TV screens were not new to me, but really nice on a short-haul flight and the legroom was also quite comfortable. The best part, for my nerdy operations-minded brain, was that they actually board the plane from the back, so it happens in a fraction of the time. Take note, United, take note.

Rather than spending the weekend touring Boston, we took advantage of a house in Cape Cod that was available to us. It was my first time in Cape Cod and I felt spoiled having my own room and a queen-sized bed for the weekend. A friend of mine had recommended checking out Martha's Vineyard, so we took the ferry over there on Sunday, rented bikes, and cycled along the shore. I can think of few better ways to spend a Saturday!

I titled this post "lobster weekend" not only because I ate a lot of lobster, but because I finished Saturday looking like one. After spending so much time in the sun in Virginia, I figured I had enough of a base tan that I didn't really need to worry about sunblock. I was wrong. Yet, despite the fact that I am trying to figure out how to make my tan lines disappear so I can wear tank tops again, the sunburn was well worth the day of seeing the ocean and beautiful Cape Cod houses, realizing that the expression "it's just like riding a bike" is true, and eating all sorts of delicious, fresh seafood.

The best surprise of the weekend was seeing my aunt's post on Facebook the night before I left and realizing she was going to be in Boston at the same time as me! We got in touch and I had a great dinner with family before flying back to Richmond.

Anyway... I have two days left of my internship (plus some work yet to do tonight) and then I'm off for my final adventure of the summer: meeting my best friend from home in NYC.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Nostalgia, Part 2

It was a year ago today that I left my home of 18 years for the Great Adventure that has been Darden. Last year, I celebrated my birthday with the crowd of friends and supporters I'd been collecting for 18 years - co-workers, friends from high school and undergrad, church, and people who somehow made it into my life over the years. Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday with a small group of amazing girlfriends I only had the privilege of getting to know this May, and spent a good five hours on the phone with people living elsewhere.

In some ways it's hard to believe it's only been a year, and in others, it's hard to believe it's been a full year. And, to continue on the poetic paradoxes, it's been everything I expected and nothing at all what I expected. Going into Darden, I was well-educated on what to expect: hard work, great times, great people, come out a stronger and better person on the other side. I knew all about Section Norms and the 100 Case Party and Learning Teams. What I didn't know was all the details: the people who would make my life richer, the details that would come every day, how my specific academic and recruiting story would look.

And maybe this post is a year premature, but with a birthday yesterday and a coffee visit with an incoming first year this evening, all these thoughts are circulating in my mind. The biggest question as many of the first years stare down the barrel of the gun that is first year, is "is it worth it?"

And the answer, of course, is yes.

First year at Darden was not easy for me. It wasn't the stresses of the academic rigor, but the piling of everything: struggling with the job search for the first time in my life, being far away from everyone familiar and discovering new things about myself, over-committing to volunteer positions that had my Outlook calendar crazy full, and trying to participate in an environment where there are a LOT of really smart people.

But when I look back and see how well everything turned out, and realize what I've learned about business and about myself, I can't imagine doing it any other way. Even my internship search, which was by far the most stressful part of first year for me, turned out better than I could have possibly planned and has opened doors for full-time recruiting that I never would have imagined. Most importantly, I've spent time taking trips this summer to visit people who have become an integral part of my life who I didn't even know existed at this time last year.

I can only hope that Second Year - only three weeks away - will be just as awesome. But maybe without the stress.