I used to spend a lot of time clicking through the Darden website as an applicant a couple years ago. I remember looking at pictures and trying to form impressions and associations in my mind. I would think about how they looked smart, in their suits and neat hairdo and flawless make up…and I would feel a little intimidated, I have to admit. I wondered if the journey I was embarking upon was something I would be able to fit in with, if I could be one of them and do it seamlessly.
Today I was clicking through the website again. I saw the international and domestic student contacts, the club pages and some student videos. And in those pictures, I saw my friends. At some pictures I just laughed, at the thought of a Halloween costume or a quip in the Cold Call Chronicle or the memory of a fun incident. At others, I looked with some pride, at their pre- and post- business school achievements. And then at some there were the fond memories of cramming in an LT room for every day of the first semester. There were some I just know as classmates and others that I know personally, know their trials and their triumphs, know their families… There is no intimidation now. Just pride and affection. And mild surprise at how quickly it all happened.