The sun is shining. The air is hot. The open area in front of Stern that is Gould Plaza is once again a concrete quad where hundreds of students cross paths daily, colliding at will—conversations shared, smiles exchanged, waves projected from afar.
Through the familiar swoosh-swoosh of the revolving doors is a hive buzzing with activity. Students run to and from class, meetings, and meet-ups. The first-years are rushing to their core classes and club kick-offs, as they feel the pressure to dive in and take in as much as the school has to offer (which can certainly feel like too much at times!). The second-years happily reconnect after three months of time apart, before breaking away themselves, away to their elective classes, away to lead the club meetings for the first-years, away to find full-time jobs.
As a second-year, things are a bit different, of course. I miss the ex-MBA2s who I looked up to as mentors. I miss taking classes with my block. I miss my dual-degree classmates who are off fulfilling requirements at their other NYU schools this semester.
Yet I love having another 400 people to meet and talk to. I love being able to offer my time and experiences to them. Even within my year, while our disparate schedules sometimes mean that my usual friends and I see each other less, I love that it is allowing me to continue to meet people who I had not yet had the chance to meet before.
Of course, it is a lovely feeling to be able to return to school with rich relationships already in place. Just this summer, I had the chance to meet and become closer with dozens of Sternies. If you’ve read my earlier post about the Cannes Film Festival class, you would know that I spent a week running around the French Riviera with 25 of my classmates, only five of whom I would say I knew well before the trip. Then right before school started, along with 20 Sternies (and seven Stern Partners), I attended the wedding of one of my best friends at Stern (despite having met him only a year ago!). In this case, almost all of us knew each other well already because we recruited with each other and/or are in the same block, but I still came away from that weekend feeling that I had taken part in something special with my classmates, something that will connect us for life.
Indeed, every time I reflect on my network I’m amazed at how much it has grown, how quickly it continues to grow, and how strong and healthy it is. I imagine that if one’s network were a wholly tangible thing, watching it grow would be like watching an oak tree grow from a sapling to maturity in two years.
And the growth continues. So far, I’ve had the chance to interact with the MBA1s at LAUNCH (orientation), where I met about a fifth of the class at the Club Expo and another nine on their LAUNCH Day of Service.
Also, this past Saturday I had the chance to chat with even more first-years at our MBA1/MBA2 mixer. While I was there, another MBA2 and I were especially delighted to run into the new MBA1 roommate of one of our dear friends, who was not present at the time. We promptly sent said friend the following message:
And so we’re back! A new year. New connections. New possibilities.