I had never been more excited for Valentine’s Day. This year, that hopeless day coincides with midterm season and for once in my life I had someone special to study with. We had already made plans to spend the holiday copying formulas onto cheat sheets and exchanging tasteful case insights. We tossed around the idea of breaking for lunch in a private room in the NBC building. I was tingling with anticipation.
But with only a week to go before the big day, he broke the news to me that he’d found another group. He didn’t even have the courage to tell me in person. Instead, I woke up one morning to read this: “hey dude, one of my buddies has an open spot in their group, so I think I’m gonna work on the homeworks with him from now on. Please excuse any iPhone autocorrects.” I was no longer tingling. I was shattered.
I know our time together was short-lived, but the first month of the quarter seemed so magical. We had past experiences that complemented each other perfectly. Our study sessions were a grand combination of laughter and hard work. You could tell that our efficiency made other groups rife with jealousy. We even made up a nickname for our study group: Going Study. It was like I had never studied with anyone else before. We had already promised each other that we would never be study partners with anyone else as long as we were at Booth. We were study soul mates and he ripped my heart out.
The first stage is paralysis. When I initially read his email, it caught me off guard. I was too shocked to respond. Now my head is filled with the things I wished I would have said to him. “How am I supposed to go on without your chiseled industry knowledge? No one has ever understood my value-add the way you do. I’m sorry I blew that market segmentation exercise. I promise I can change the way I format my spreadsheets.”
The second stage is desperation. I trolled the evening section to hunt for other lonely students. I swapped answers and ideas with a complete stranger. I even reduced myself to sending an email out to the class list asking if anyone needed a group member.
The final stage is revenge. I took our graded problem sets, crossed his name out with blood red ink, and shoved them into his mail folder. I changed seats in class to sit with a gaggle of first-years in an attempt to make him think I’m studying with younger students. I took away his editing privileges from our Google Drive folder. I hope he’s jealous when he sees my new teammate, Anonymous Lemur, viewing our old documents.
This Valentine’s Day was supposed to be one of fireworks, but instead I got a life lesson. Having a strong connection with a study partner can be a wonderful gift, but when the quarter comes to an end, we all must take our finals alone. If you can’t depend on yourself, then you have nothing to show for your effort, and I have no shame in attaching a single, sad signature to that Booth Honor Code.