Sunday, August 28, 2005

The very beginning

(Disclaimer: Some of the statementsb below are exaggerations and huge generalizations. If you talk to some people who know me, they will say it is true to my nature. For what its worth, let me say that I am simply trying to put across my state of mind during the first few days. So take them with a pinch of salt and I hope you enjoy it!).

Its been almost 3 weeks since I arrived here at Durham and I would be lying if I said they were the easiest. New place, the weather (there are places in North America that are worse than India, believe me), no car, no phone, an unsuspecting neighbor's stolen internet, new flatmate, seeing other anxious bschool faces. And that's just the beginning.

My days started quite well, with a very nice gentleman called Jones (a second year student) picking me up from the airport and taking me shopping for the essentials. You must be thinking what was the first thing I bought? It was a shower curtain. A shower curtain. Apparently (and as I realized later), you would be in quite some trouble if you do have a shower, but no curtain in US. I saw "Team Fuqua" in action the very first day and was feeling pretty happy to be here.

That was the start of settling down here. The first week went by without any incidents. I had no tools to create incidents with, if you know what I mean. My flatmate, Navdeep arrived couple of days after me with his sister Harpreet Kaur. Things did start moving a bit and we were frantically looking for cars. Here's another thing about US. You are a dead man if you don't have a car in US. And I am not just saying that to make you feel horrible. You don't exist here without a car. If you keep it up for a while, you will actually not exist because you will die of hunger! Good thing I had packed some food from home and MTR totally rocks!

By the end of first week, I had not visited my college. I had no inclination left to go check out the place that I was going to spend most of my next two years at. Navdeep and I rented a car for the first weekend. We gave a lot of reasons for doing that. Going to buy some food was among them.

Well anyway, days progressed much too slowly. Navdeep got a car just in the nick of time for us to start going to college for orientation sessions. Boy were they a drag! To be fair, it wasn't anyone's fault really. The second years tried their best to keep up our spirits. "You should be proud of where you are", "There are people who have their noses pinned to the windows from outside, while you are sitting in here; the best business school in the world" (I almost looked to see if there was a window in the auditorium), "Start networking from day one; exchange names, backgrounds, interests from other students" and my (and Navdeep's) personal favorite, "Get out of your comfort zone!"

With respect to networking, I just have one thing to say. "Yeah right!! I must have asked that guy who is wearing that white t-shirt today at least 4 times this week what his name was. If I ask him his background one more time, I am sure he will start regretting having such an interesting and unique background that I am sure he has!"

"Get out of your comfort zone!" That was something that hit me hard. And it was not because it was a profound statement with very deep meaning and connotations that my already overworked, GMAT-cracking brain wanted to chew endlessly as I made my way through those corridors. It was because I realized that I was already here. My comfort zone was left halfway around the world. I had no friends and I was in the middle of these strange faces trying very, very hard to remember each one's name (and backgrounds, of course).

So that was orientation. It did orient me, I must say quite successfully, to the reality of what I was doing. But it wasn't until the 2nd week of college when I tried answering two of the most fundamental questions. They made me squirm in my seat at the grand Geneen Auditorium of the Fuqua School of Business.


Anonymous said...

Hey Shivesh!

Its great to see you started a blog :)) I look forward to reading about all the interesting happenings out there!

I know you'll be terribly busy, but do Please make some time to occassionally fill us in on the latest news! :)

Love the way you write! Its so... you!

Anonymous said...

Oye shivesh
Nicely said buddy. Well from my perspective I see you matured already, its like 5 yrs back when i saw/heard you :) Another reason i liked your comments is the fact aht it inspired me to do something like MBA, which i am aspiring to do for long.. but defintely not leaving the current job :) - deepak c shetty