Being loaded on medication and working in your pajamas gives you plenty of time to think. And be introspective. And acknowledge emotions you have suppressed because of your daily routine of being too busy.
A couple weeks ago, my Strategy professor from Darden, Prof. Greg Fairchild, was in San Francisco to discuss a case born out of his research into social enterprise. We discussed a venture capital firm that believed in investing in companies that brought in a double bottom line – social good as well as the profits. I remember sitting in a class during the first couple of weeks at Darden – don’t remember which – where we repeated in unison to the question, why do you do business – “to make money.” Graduation and plus-one later, Darden has been great about drilling into my head that a business is about more than just the money. I cannot tell you how many times in the last year I have reminded myself of that lesson.
I took a friend with me to Greg’s case discussion. My friends and family being in India, and my own lack of words to describe my experience at Darden, I have never been able to fully share what it feels like to be sitting in a Darden class. So when the opportunity presented itself, I took one of my closest friends to the Marriot for this discussion. Driving back home and ruminating on the experience and the discussion, she told me that that evening was the happiest she had seen me in a long time. At the time I assumed I was just happy to meet a professor whose class was one of my favorite ones at Darden. My friend argued that there was a certain energy in the “class” – and in me – that evening that she had not seen before (and she has known me for over six years now).
This weekend is my first year reunion at Darden and I will not make it there. As I read blogs of current students at Darden, I almost wish I was back there. I’ve realized what my friend was talking about. I miss Darden, so very much. I miss being there, being challenged every day, being forced to think about big pictures and social good and learning life’s lessons. I have realized that my ability to throw myself completely into something I am doing has resulted in me filling up my calendar with “work” things and forgetting about big picture living. And when I am with my Darden crowd – at a brunch, at a case discussion or a happy hour – I come alive, because here are the people that prove to me every day that it was not a dream. That it happened and that I will always have those two years at school.
I stand by my decision of not attending reunion due to various constraints, but come Saturday I will be wishing I was sipping wine at Flagler Courtyard and catching up with friends and professors and the staff at Darden, telling them of all my adventures since I graduated last year.