In order to begin the next chapter of my life, I need to conclude this current chapter. Never before have I been so excited to work. I realize this sounds completely insane. Who is excited about working? This girl! I’ve been planning my career switch into alcohol marketing for several years and I’m thrilled to get paid to do something I am genuinely passionate about. I do realize that there will be ups and downs with this new career, like any, though the ratio will be much more favorable than my five years in investment banking. To those of you embarking on a career in banking, I wish you the best and hope that you find solace in Seamless when the times are tough.
Naturally, it is also bittersweet to leave Stern, a place that has been the source of many happy memories. Before I came here, I had a general idea of how involved I wanted to be and I’ve certainly met or exceeded those goals. My experience as a Block Leader, Board Member, Follies Co-Chair, Launch Captain and Teaching Fellow (I’m sure I’m forgetting things, #humblebrag) supplemented my formal education in a way I could not have imagined. Given my current level of involvement with the Oppy, it may be surprising to hear it was never a goal of mine to write for the school paper. I hardly read the paper during my first year; on second thought…did anyone? I am open to changing my mind and once I learned that Dan Gidycz would be the new Editor-in-Chief, I knew I wanted to be a part of the rebranded Oppy. It would be a significant task to write material bi-weekly. Even more challenging than continuously coming up with new material would be coming up with material worth reading!
My experience as a regularly recurring columnist has been extremely rewarding. I love hearing when people have feedback on something I wrote, whether it is praise or criticism. It is an incredible feeling to write something that causes someone to react. As a result of my sixteen articles, I’ve developed my own voice and distinct writing style. This experience has motivated me to continue writing long-form articles, in addition to my existing review-style posts on my website (shameless plug: www.personalitini.com). I am a strong advocate of community involvement at Stern and haven’t figured out how to say “no” when given an opportunity to participate. Out of all the things I’ve done at Stern, I’m most pleased that I said “yes” to writing in the Oppy. I can only hope that others have benefitted as much from my contributions as I have from creating them. I look forward to seeing what additional improvement the new Editor-in-Chief and Editor-at-Large will make (congrats Chelsea Colby and Courtney Rizzo!)
The full-time commencement speaker this year is David Kuperstein. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him very well over the past two years; we’re both in Block 3, were both TFs for Professor Eggers and Co-Hosted/Co-Chaired Follies along with Jimmy Richardson. I also auditioned to be a graduation speaker. While there is always disappointment in not getting what you want, I cannot think of a person more deserving of the honor than David. I look forward to hearing his speech. Until May 22nd, I have something for you to reflect on. I feel strongly about what I wrote and want to share it as the conclusion of my last Oppy article:
How many Friends do you have on Facebook, Followers on Twitter or Connections on LinkedIn? Ok, you can stop counting. In today’s digital society, it’s never been easier to measure the size of your network.
We must keep perspective, however, that the value of each new connection is the actual person behind the profile. As a Sternie, I have come to appreciate the impact of these newly added relationships. Real relationships. Not just on Facebook.
A quote from author Gretchen Rubin sums up my last two years, “The days are long, but the years are short.” We all remember the shared pain of first semester. It seemed like life was a whirlwind of group projects, exams and networking. We didn’t just survive though – we thrived. Many of us traveled, some extensively, or studied abroad. Some of us got married or attended a classmate’s wedding. A few have extended their families with babies or pets. Stern has been a compressed, high impact event we’ve shared with people that were largely strangers before meeting in Greenwich Village.
We all came here knowing we would graduate with a degree. Could we really envision everything else we would gain? Nearly three years ago, I wrote in my application essay about my dream company and I am proud to say that I will be working there full-time starting in July. I’m leaving Stern with so much more than a job and a degree. The individuals I’ve met here are not just my classmates. They are my friends; friends that support and encourage me to chase my dreams whether it’s launching a website or writing for one. I chose Stern because of the people. I felt immediately at ease in this new place and I’m not unique in this sentiment. As I look into the crowd, I see classmates that have fallen in love with each other, have partnered to start businesses or are moving across the world to start a job together. Graduation does not mark the end of our relationships but rather the beginning of a new phase.
The amount of time we’ve spent in the classroom is dwarfed by the time we’ve spent outside of it; this time is what has defined our experience. We’re obsessed with measurement and justify the value of our MBA with an increased salary or better benefits. The real value, the personal impact, is not as easy to quantify. Friendships deepened during Beer Blast, Treks and Club Events form the glue that holds us together during the ups and downs of the past two years.
Our paths intersected to form the Class of 2014 and now we leave Stern to each follow a new path. Decades from now, you won’t remember the case studies you read but you will remember the people. Look around you. Even though you have to leave campus, you will take these relationships with you wherever you go. I encourage you to continue to invest in these connections; they are the vibrant, living reminders of our time at Stern. You’ve made my life richer and my Facebook Feed much more interesting. Thank you.
I’d like to propose a toast:
I wish you health, I wish you well, and happiness galore.
I wish you luck for you and friends; what could I wish you more?
May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam.
And may you find, sweet peace of mind, where ever you may roam.