I have worked to get to this day, today, for so many years now. Some days I took the straight path and on many days, I was probably moving in a direction that I never thought could lead me here. But here I am. And in those few, quiet moments through the day, I have been alternately tearing up and pinching myself, to confirm that this is it. The first day of business school. A dream that I have nurtured and cherished for years now. Sometimes knowingly, willfully and at other times, tucked safely in the corner of my heart and brain, where no one could see it.
I am back in my apartment, after what feels like a very surreal day of cheering, table banging (more on that later!), talking and meeting so many people for brief and awe-inspiring conversations. And before this fleeting moment gets away from me and the reality of life kicks in tomorrow or day after, I want to cherish it. Through the many welcomes messages from Fuqua faculty, administration, the amazing Orientation team and alumni from all over the world, I felt a connection to this place, an affirmation of the same gut feeling that made me apply to Fuqua as an Early Decision student. The same connection also made me withdraw my application from all other schools, right away after getting in here. As a speaker said, there is something in the air, something about the people coming in and surrounding you at this place that some will intrinsically connect with.
One of the key things that attracted me to Fuqua was the opportunity to develop myself as a leader. It is hard to miss in your research about the school, the emphasis it puts on seeking and molding future leaders of consequence. As someone who has typically had the mantle of the being the default leader of the group and learnt how to be one by trial and error, I am going to take these two years and mold myself into one, who is a worthy of being followed and willing to follow.
This poem, also a part of our orientation today, sums up the best of what I want to get out of this experience in the two years and how I hope that this investment in myself can help in my long-term transformation.
To the next two years!
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?
— The Dash by Linda Ellis