I am still in shock that my last semester has arrived. How did I get here? There’s a part of me that wishes I could stay at Stern forever, but there’s also a part of me that’s eager to get out there and show the world all that I’ve learned. I recently had the sad, but exciting task of selecting my last classes. The great thing about being a second semester second year is that I received all of my choices! The downside is that there is still so much I would like to take. In the end, I chose Decision Models, Pricing Strategy, Retail Strategy, Managing Growing Companies, New Venture Finance, Luxury Marketing, and DBi Italy. That may seem like a lot, but fear not. It only totals up to 5.5 classes, so a slight, but worthwhile overload, thanks in part to the extra 3 credits Stern allots you. Ultimately, after sitting in on many classes and consulting my friends for insight on their experience in certain courses, I am pleased with my selection. I like the mix of hard and soft skills built into my schedule this semester. During the selection process, I also met with several professors and faculty members to gain their input. I tend to be indecisive, so I figured an extra opinion or two could never hurt. The Stern community has yet to fail.
This brings me to the difficult start I had to my semester. During the last week of January, second year students completed a mandatory course called Professional Responsibility. It is a week-long intensive that covers various topics surrounding ethics. Unfortunately, in the afternoon on the first day of class, I received notice that a friend of mine had passed away from cancer. As one of my fellow GA’s and several friends comforted me while I sobbed, I was assured by the professor that I could take the time I needed. My friends remained supportive and encouraging. I knew I could rely on them for any notes or information I may have missed while I attempted to pull myself together. I ultimately chose to stay for the remainder of the day rather than go home. The decision was simple. I knew that I was better off surrounded by my loving, caring classmates than alone in my apartment. My fellow Sternies never left my side that week. They dragged me to lunch when I didn’t want to eat. They sat with me in silence listening to my reflections. They brought me humor when I cried. They checked in on me morning, noon, and night. Even in the short two weeks that have followed, I have had the undivided support from my friends.
So much of our decision regarding where to attend business school centers on academics and careers. While these are some of the compelling reasons I chose Stern, I ask you to reconsider your priorities. Ultimately, my experience here has been defined more by the people than by the institution. I am touched by their regular generosity and kindness. Needless to say, I’m not sure my two years at Stern would be half of what they have been without the community. It is truly a place that picks you up when you fall down the hardest.