Reflections of a Haas Introvert: Midterm Evaluation

People are happier at Haas.

Or maybe it’s just sunshine and denial that it’s over half-way through spring semester of senior year. Less class, a greater sense of community. Maybe it’s just me.

In any case the sun’s out, I’m stuck in that dungeon called Evans with time to kill and jotted notes to share so here it goes – a midterm evaluation of my last semester as a Haas undergraduate – in other words, observations organized in what I hope to be a somewhat coherent, meaningful (or, if not, at the very least semi-entertaining) format.

Evans on a sunny Saturday afternoon
A sunny Saturday afternoon in Evans

The seed was planted somewhere a year ago in the grounds of junior year, wet with newness and stress and things of that nature. Walk through the courtyard nowadays and the buzz is infectious, conversation in full bloom. While the only core class I have left to finish leaves me at Haas not as often as many of my peers taking 21 units of CPA requirements, I’ve come to appreciate passing moments in the hallways of Cheit or morning talks gathered around the round tables in the Bank of America Forum, a watering hole for Haas students if anything, simultaneously study ground and playground depending on the time and people and context. Us undergraduates jealously regard the MBA-exclusive food spread so often I think we forget what a gift something as infrastructural and taken-for-granted as an open floor space in the middle of the Students Services Building can be.

It’s strange, too, that as little time as I might be spending academically at Haas, social scenes have become saturated with fellow Business majors. Suddenly, folks I haven’t seen since first semester Business Communications are cropping up and it’s not like no time ever passed, but rather that we are all actually relishing the time we have left. From bright green fields in Napa sunshine to the Sproul steps to what might as well be our Thursday home in North Berkeley (that I will refrain from naming), my fellows at Haas are there for good times, good laughs, and good stories.

Napa Toast
Toasting at the Class of 2014 Cohort Program Napa Tour

Which leads me to the overwhelming question…why is that the case? Why are people so happy? I am no sociologist but I will hazard a few guesses, gathered from conversations with peers from across campus. It may be that many seniors at this point know where they’re going post-graduation, hence they are more relaxed and free to enjoy the last months of their college career. It may be that business students are naturally more social and that this social aspect is only heightened in situations when they are gathered together, which feeds back into a loop. It may be that the reality of real life is hitting, and hitting faster than we can shield ourselves and all we can do is run and make plans and go out to keep ourselves from recognizing the realness of it all. It may be all of these or none of the above but this is a more difficult question than even Professor Wood can dream up – and certainly with no definite answer – so I think we should all get credit for even participating and proffering a guess and step back, look at the experience at large, rather than quiver and shake at one question whose correct answer is peanuts in the grand scheme of things.

Cohort Retreat in SF
The people you meet

Over two years ago Haas acceptances were released for the current graduating Class of 2014. As complicated and conflicted as my (and, I’m sure, many of my peers’) feelings are towards practicality versus personal interest in choosing a field of study, I will say that my time as a business student has colored the two years since that acceptance to no small degree. It is in this happier, more social environment that I start to realize how invaluable the people you meet can be, the experiences resulting ranging from face-palm-and-head-banging-on-desk terrible to best-friends-forever-our-kids-will-be-friends! positive. It is a spectrum I am leaning more towards the affirmative extreme of in my current state of sentimentality…to the extent that I have circled “All of the Above” as my guess for all this radically unexpected but beautiful sunniness  shining down on us all. The days are still young, and I am perfectly okay with not knowing the answer.

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