“I actually had to attend a wedding and a funeral the same day.” I picked up my friend Andrew from the Seattle airport last evening as a favor — after all, the guy let me crash there for a few days and let me borrow his flashy little Prius so I could traipse all around town during my extended weekend away from Ann Arbor. When I asked why he was out of town during my jaunt, that was his response.
Weddings seem to come and go these days. Old friends seem to naturally gravitate toward that resolution in life (a friend from my old C-Group got engaged this past weekend; her transience almost rivaled mine, which made it all the more thrilling to hear the announcement); a funeral, on the other hand…well, for someone my age to attend one, outside of a death in the family, always evokes some reflection. And it’s tough not to inquire, and my friend was happy to oblige:
Micah was a first-year student at Stanford GSB, an additional pursuit alongside the PhD program he began in Palo Alto a while ago. Apparently, Micah had sent me an email about funding an MBA program, and when Andy reminded me of this, my synapses went into overdrive. It was a reaction of shock, sadness, sympathy…who knows what else. I suddenly considered this young man — someone I only met in the oft-lifeless, grey walls of an e-community — as a peer, a person whom I understood exactly the challenges, aspirations, and hopes he had for his life after completing this grand academic journey.
And in an instant, the countless hours of pining for an admit, studying for the GMAT, and networking became all for naught. (Read the press release here)
I don’t know who to sympathize with — of course, his family is paramount. But I can’t stop wondering — what would happen if three of my classmates suffered the same fate? And in that sense, I don’t doubt that this rocked GSB to the core. Yes, it’s just a school, and yes, it’s somewhat artificial, what with the countless hours of orientation and (ahem) happy hours and…well, learning alongside a hand-picked cohort of future leaders.
Business school has its ups and downs, just as the personalities of each student combine to create a sine wave that never seems to harmonize. But in this hour, I feel deeply for the unnamed cohort down there in sunny Palo Alto — they’ll be left wondering what impact those three gentlemen may have had on their lives, and how it could have been different.
Perhaps it’s that sense of wonderment that needs to be stoked after all. Rest in peace, guys.