Author: Jordan Cleare (2018)
JC: What has been the hardest part of transitioning back to school?
KN: The hardest part of transitioning back to school is getting used to learning and absorbing a lot of new information instead of teaching and sharing knowledge. It is a bit different than what I am used to - standing in front of students leading a classroom or in front of teachers leading a professional development session. Also, I am used to having more hours filled with discussion amongst peers about curriculum development, policy, and ways to move the needle forward for students. I am now transitioning to days filled with classes, studying, and recruiting events that require my active listening skills. This transition has been challenging at times, but I am getting the hang of it!
JC: What has surprised you most about Booth?
KN: First, the level of talent combined with the humbleness of my peers at Booth has surprised me. I am constantly impressed by the diversity, intelligence, and kindness of the students at Booth. From one-off conversations to class discussions to friendships, the demonstrable skills, level of professional achievement, and support that I have felt from the Booth community has reinforced my first impressions of Booth.
Secondly, the fit that I personally feel at Booth has surprised me. I am also constantly amazed by being surrounded by highly effective and nerdy people. I love that I can geek-out about education policy, scientific developments, or my color-coded notebooks and find a Boothie who is ready to learn more about the topic, contribute to the discussion, or completely share an understanding of why such level of organization is necessary. I have clearly found my people at Booth.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
KN: My #WhyBooth moment is, firstly, a collection of the small moments outlined above. But, there have also been a few key moments that stand out to me as representative of why I am at Booth. The first that comes to mind is when David MacLennan, CEO of Cargill, Inc., spoke during the Distinguished Speaker series. I really appreciated his insights on leadership, on work-life balance, and on ways that businesses can have a positive impact on society. The latter underscores why I came to Booth and why I am a career switcher. Mr. MacLennan’s reflections connected in many ways with my personal values and reinforced why I am here.
JC: As a Double Maroon, what’s it like being back on campus?
BS: It’s comforting and strange at the same time. While on the surface everything looks familiar, everyday something new catches my eye where I think, “that didn’t used to be there before”. Overall, I love being back “home”.
JC: What has been the most challenging part of transitioning back to student life?
BS: At work, even if I had multiple workstreams or projects, the ultimate goal was still the same. Because of this, my frame of mind was essentially the same no matter what I was working on. School is like juggling 3 totally different jobs, and oh by the way one of the jobs is your personal life. Finding that balance has been a struggle.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
BS: As an undergrad, I took a course called UChicago Campus, which was essentially an art history lesson on the architecture at UChicago. Every couple weeks, we’d tour buildings on and around campus, with the Harper Center being one of the last tours. I ended up writing my final paper on how the Harper Center is a perfect architectural reflection of traditional UChicago values and forward-looking innovation. I think I convinced myself through writing that paper that Booth was where I wanted to be.