As few of you know, I will be co-hosting the 2Y Celebration with Kevin O’Keefe this Saturday. When the planning committee asked me to participate, they said something to the effect of “A couple of us nominated you…because everybody knows you…and we thought you’d do a great job.” Although incredibly honored, one thing struck me as odd. “…everybody knows you.”
Hearing this took me back to first year orientation when the entire class was gathered inside Rockefeller Chapel. I was one of a handful of people standing for what I now recognize as Dean Kole’s annual shaming of students who did not participate in Random Walk. It was embarrassingly awkward (and no Boothie should ever have to suffer such shame).
Aside from a few people that I got to know through the MBA application process, no one knew me when I first came to Booth. I would actually venture a guess that no one knew me for the entire first quarter. It was evident at large class events where I roamed through the sea of 500+ first years without a friend-group to anchor me. It was also evident in my lack of dinner party invitations, absence from splinter GroupMe chats and exclusion from inside jokes. I mean, what was so funny about a White Russian anyway?
Most Thursdays, despite rarely making it onto anyone’s Uber list, I would resist the to urge to binge-watch (insert old SciFi or cheesy procedural drama here) and head out to TNDC. I wasn’t motivated by a desire to get to know more people. After all who expects to get to know anyone in a loud, dimly lit bar while slipping into a frosty beverage-fueled haze? No one! Yet I found myself creating memories that would build new friendships, strengthen existing ones and profoundly impact my Booth experience.
I remember dancing with Ale at 3 TNDCs before we learned each other’s names. Weeks later we sat together outside of a classroom as she talked through her business concept for Ezza Nails. I also remember running into Rachel at the first TNDC of 2016 and spending the next few months laughing, about everything and nothing, in the Winter Garden. Reconnecting with Alyse under the blue lights at Tunnel. Caribbean dancing with Garaudy. Andrew fluffing my hair. Crushing on the awesomeness of Booth with Tina. Cheering on Baird in THE most epic dance battle! Hugging Dheeraj. Chest-bumping Valentina. And listening to Kyle’s fake southern accent.
Every time I speak to someone about Booth they note my enthusiasm for the place and the people. That’s because it’s been an incredible ride, undoubtedly made richer by every TNDC memory that managed to survive. To everyone who has contributed to this experience, I thank you for the sweaty dances we shared. Thank you for joining in as I jumped around screaming lyrics. Thank you for that heart-to-heart, that hug, that Rock-n-Roll McDonalds run. Thank you for making Booth home.
Antoinette King, aka AK, is an avid napper who loves her some Kristina Black.