(Re)Living First Day During the Polar Vortex

First Day Author Shubhda Hirawat.JPG

By Shubhda Hirawat, Class of 2020

On December 6, 2017, when I received my admission offer from Booth, I was over the moon (No, actually in bed because it was 10:45 pm IST). When I heard of First Day – the idea of meeting my future (potential) friends, experiencing the community, TNDC and even a class – it sounded fantastic! But I was in India and only dreaming. I knew (the first) First Day 2019 was my chance to re-live what I had missed and I pounced! Working alongside a team of 18 outstanding and overly passionate Boothies and an extremely committed Admissions Team, the struggle of balancing sleep, classes and socials didn’t really bother any of us much. To everyone who asked us ‘what do you really do for First Day?’, this one is for you:

Braving -40C

Braving -40C

Favorite kind of dinners

Favorite kind of dinners

  • Hearing Dean Rajan crack a couple of Dean Rajan-isms: Who would want to miss the Dean casually drop a line about how cool the school is? In true Dean Rajan fact-talk face, heard this time was: ‘We have 3 Nobel Laureates in active faculty, that’s 3 more than every other business school combined’*. No prizes to guess how the audience reacted!

  • This one is not just about TNDC: Yes, we do start with TNDC because how else do you meet hundreds of Boothies and feel how truly amazing they are! Thursday starts with a welcome at Ivy Room and squad dinners, small group dinner style. This is an opportunity for admits to ask all their questions in an intimate setting and boy, do they ask questions! And after we are done with answering questions about how do you ‘pay it forward’, who doesn’t need a drink (or two!)?

  • Meeting hundreds of ‘kids’ and fellow Boothies: We’ve been here a little over 4 months, but once in a while we all addressed the admits as ‘kids’ because you know that warm-fuzzy feeling of belonging here and having the ‘Booth Experience’? It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the 592 of your classmates that you haven’t met. It’s shocking to know those exist, right? If you didn’t sign up to be a squad leader or volunteer this time, you missed out (but you can join the April one!)

It’s a bit overwhelming to sit back after First Day and write this because I realize how far I have come. The First Day weekend was a realization about how truly fortunate we are to be in a community of happy, shiny people.

Squad goals in Winter Garden

Squad goals in Winter Garden

An admit asked me if Booth did a good job of selecting the right candidates who are collaborative and empathetic or do students just buy into the pay it forward culture? I have thought about it a long time now. In the midst of the madness that is recruiting, as first-years, we often forget to appreciate the goodness of the school. The admits are a reminder of how excited I was when I made it to the best business school in the world!

*NYU Stern now has Paul Romer, Nobel Prize for Economics in 2018, who happens to also be a UChicago PhD!