Let me state for the record that I am not, by nature, a particularly sentimental or emotional person (unless you want to count righteous indignation as an emotion...in which case, I plead guilty as charged). I generally don't develop attachments to inanimate objects (well, except maybe to my old Subaru, but we were together for 7 years, and a lot of marriages don't last that long). It takes a lot to make me emotional enough to cry, and on the very rare ocassions when I do, it's typically because an internal tempest of rage and righteous fury bursts out of my control and starts leaking through my tear ducts, not because I'm sad. I didn't cry at my graduation from either high school or college. I like babies (particularly some of those belonging to my classmates), butterflies, and rainbows as much as the next person, but I got really sick of Chris L. on The Bachelor and his whole shpiel about seeing his mother in every rainbow. Like I said, I am generally a no-nonsense, un-sentimental person. This isn't the forum for psycho-analyzing me and figuring out why that is....let's just accept it as a fact and move on, shall we?
Given this fact of my nature, imagine my shock when I returned to school (and by school, I mean Darden) and found myself feeling...sentimental. Shock doesn't even describe it. I mean, I didn't really leave - I've been in Charlottesville all summer, and the scanner in the student copy center and I spent A LOT of time bonding between June and August. Also, I've only known the people at Darden for 12 months, max (OK, so I went to high school with two of them....that doesn't count). So why on Earth did "returning" make me feel so sentimental? Maybe it was the fact that everyone seemed shocked to see me (note: the law school, contrary to popular belief, does NOT lock 1Ls in the library), and some even seemed fairly delighted that I was coming to help out with Orientation, to hang out at the beginning-of-school picnic, or to attend the Dean's "welcome back" speech to the second year (SY) class. Maybe it was the fact that I've hugged more people in the last four days that I have in probably the last six years of my life. Maybe it was just that everyone was so darn excited to be at Darden. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's it: we're all just happy to be here (heck, I'm so happy that I've been spending almost more time at Darden than at the law school this week, despite the fact that all my classes are at the law school).
My class (or I guess I should say the Class of 2011) has bonded a lot. Sure, we aren't all best friends, but we generally get along, we enjoy catching up with one another, etc. Most of all, we've all survived the first year of Darden together, and there's a sense of brother-(and sister-)hood that comes with that. As I watch the FYs struggle with their first full week of class, stressing about building Excel models and understanding managerial accounting and debating the merits of prepping LO cases in learning teams, I remember how all of those experiences brought my class together. My section, Section E, certainly bonded over our trials and tribulations in class. My learning team bonded as we figured out the most efficient way to get in, get everything done, and get out so we could go about the rest of our lives. We bonded over recruiting, over the hell that is Black November, and over our delight in finally finding some time in Q4 to start to appreciate Charlottesville beyond North Grounds. I feel closer to some of my Darden classmates than I do to people I knew through three-and-a-half years of college.
So, now that the powers that be have decided I am in a position to provide "advice" to the FYs, here it is: just remember, no matter how stressed out you are now, so is everyone else, and there's an opportunity in that. The person you run by in a panic as you realize that you're late for your fourth meeting of the day may be one of your closest friends by this time next year. Take the time to take a deep breath, say hello, and commiserate with the other person running down the hallway with you. I hope that in 12 months, you, too, will be feeling sentimental...even if it isn't in your nature, either.