As a second-year full-time student, now is about the time where the reality that the end is near starts to set in. Whether it’s the creepy nostalgia of “senioritis” from my high school days, the emails that remind me I need to apply for graduation, or the passing of the baton to the next group of ChiBus editors or admissions fellows, it’s no secret that the Booth experience is coming to a close for half of the students here. Since leaving a place you love can be hard, I’ve learned to begin saying “goodbye” early.
I came to Booth as somewhat of an anomaly. I studied English as an undergraduate at The University of Chicago and spent eight very long, yet rewarding, years in education as an English teacher, charter school co-founder, and non-profit manager. I knew very little about how corporations make the world go ‘round. I was fairly naive and even scoffed at the idea that business folks could care about anything other than making money. My experiences had incorrectly taught me this. Booth flipped the script.
When I came to Booth, I initially longed for my college and teaching days where I could debate the radical philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche with a classmate or interpret voice and memory in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf with fellow undergraduate thespians or my nerdy students. But I now know that the purpose of this leg of my journey is not to change all of the experiences I’ve had in the past, but rather it’s to enrich those experiences with new colors.
I’ll admit I haven’t always loved my time here at Booth. Consulting recruiting was one of the worst moments for me, and a memory I cannot sooner forget. I was not always impressed with my professors’ abilities to break down material and or even to find the joy in teaching at times. I longed for more intellectually stimulating conversations that didn’t involve talk of careers or superficial musings.
But I am also critical of my own engagement and my own naive expectations. While I’ve certainly pushed myself to be more involved in the community as an Admissions Fellow, as an editor for this newspaper, and as a representative on university-wide councils, I can’t say that I’ve taken total advantage of all of the resources that exist here at the Harper Center. I haven’t scheduled many office hour chats with professors, attended many of the speaker series around campus, nor worked to create the spaces where students who long for deeper, more meaningful conversations like me can find one other.
However, I know that there is never enough time and I need to be easier on myself. So, I’m preparing to leave this place (again) with a renewed sense of the possibilities. The College before and now Booth have given me a powerful sense of confidence and self-worth. I am ready now more than ever to take on the world with all of the forward motion of a trailblazer.
At the end of the day, I have to remember that this Booth moment is just a stop on a longer road through many more unknowns. And I’m happy to traverse that road--full speed ahead--with some new, wonderful friends; a much larger network of innovative, passionate thinkers; and with the support of some really cool administrators and staff. With my favorite Beyonce song blasting in the background, bring it on.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, reach out and ask John to grab some tea or coffee to talk it through.