It’s my final Monday on campus, and one thought keeps looping in my mind: “Wow, the last two years went by so fast. Where did the time go?” Commencement is three days away; my first day of work is eight (it was my choice to jump right back into the “real world”). But instead of thinking about the major changes about to come, I keep thinking about some of the happiest moments from the last two years.
Many of these memories involve my HBS friends. I came to HBS filled with the same uncertainty that possibly everybody feels, but nobody is quite willing to articulate: Will I find true friends here? But sure enough, after everybody got settled in, lasting friendships were formed.
I’ll always fondly remember having dinner parties in our apartment with friends, chatting into the night over takeout Thai food and a fair amount of (cheap) wine. I’ll remember my friends urging me to try out new activities like rock climbing, golfing, and running a sprint triathlon - all of which I grumbled good-naturedly at, but which I secretly really enjoyed. And I’ll remember trying to start a packaged snack start-up, spending hours over cooking sessions, food photoshoots, and paperwork blitzes (RIP Zuki).
I also had the opportunity to travel to some pretty far-flung places with my new friends, doing things I’d never imagine doing. We got to hike the fjords in Scandinavia, ride ATVs on black sand beaches in Iceland, take a morning jog around an ancient stadium in Athens, explore the ruins of Angkor Wat, and stargaze from our tents inside the Grand Canyon. This kind of traveling is the source of some of the most precious memories that I’ll take away from HBS.
But, of course, not all my memories are positive in tone: we saw each other through highs but also some lows. We were there for each other through breakups and mini-existential crises. We listened to each other's’ stories about our “crucible” moments - those key, powerful inflection points in our lives that have shaped who we are today, but which we seldom talk about.
Friends were not the only source of memories at HBS. The section was an incredible community that really made HBS less daunting, and many of my memories are section-centric. Some of these memories are simply hanging out with Section A (go pandas!) in larger HBS events, like the pseudo-mosh pit we had going on during the winter formal of our first year.
Some of these memories illustrate the lightheartedness of our section, like the inexplicably awesome ribbon dancing competition we had during our first section retreat. Others were more sobering, like our section MyTakes, where sectionmates shared their life stories in meaningful displays of authenticity and vulnerability. And still others came from the more mundane day-to-day of sitting in the same classroom together for a year, like the inside jokes and “section challenges” we had during class (best one: incorporate a Taylor Swift lyric into your class comment).
The final category of fondest memories I have, perhaps surprisingly to some, is academics. Most professors will end the semester with some “life lessons”, and many of these sessions will stay with me because of the sincere life advice that the professors gave. Other memories will be of “aha” moments in class, when a classmate’s comment or a new framework fundamentally changed how I saw the world in some way.
And of course, there were the two courses with international travel: FIELD 2 in the first year and an Immersive Field Course in the second year. FIELD took me to Johannesburg, where I got to walk through a township and for the first time begin to truly understand what poverty looks like. The IFC took me to the other end of the planet, Japan, where I saw the resilience of a region recovering from the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
So much has happened in the last two years. Where did the time go? It went towards forming deep memories at a blistering, hectic pace - memories that I never expected, memories that will be impossible to forget.