“It’s a bit strange being back,” my classmate Sanket hypothesized as we drove down Washtenaw toward campus. Minutes before, my assessment of the ground conditions as I peered out the window of the little airplane toward the DTW tarmac revealed some powdery white stuff (I grew up on this, no biggie) and the aura of frigid-ness. It was zero – ZERO – degrees in Chicago; the captain sarcastically announced that Detroit was experiencing a heat wave in comparison: a balmy 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
I ran into more classmates over the past week than I expected, but I also made some new acquaintances. I ran into my fellow BusinessWeek journaler, Bailey, who exudes a very similar outlook toward the commentary she’s received on her own writings. I had a brief rendezvous with a fellow blogger and NYU ransacker. I think I tried to cling on to Ross like a toddler does with a blanket, mainly because the intensity and time-consuming nature of my first semester forced me to consummate a relationship with that fine school. But it really did feel great to escape for a little while, to share stories with new friends and old, and to rock the South Dakota karaoke bars while simultaneously reviving a 26-year sibling rivalry that has no signs of slowing nor never fails to humble me.
I found it poetic, then, when we approached Ann Arbor to see it completely enveloped in a multi-layered canopy of snow, and the three of us in Sanket’s car started humming Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. I had heard it nearly once per hour while at home, and I vowed to shelve my holiday tunes ‘til my next trip home.
But it seemed fitting for a time like this – after all, these classmates, these friends – they’ve become family.
Now comes perhaps the heaviest test our family faces: how will we handle the rigorous recruiting process? Companies have already begun disclosing the interview lists, and one MBA2 provided some sage advice on how I should handle this process: “Come to the building, go to class, and go home. Stay away from the lobby…because the tension will nearly choke you.” I hope I can provide some solace for those that want to escape the next four weeks of jockeying, convincing, case-prepping, and whatever else may serve as a distraction to simply talking, living, and caring for one another.
Maybe that strange feeling was this: Ann Arbor feels a little like home. Happy 2008.