Saturday, September 22, 2012

Out of the Races and onto the Tracks

My favorite part of family vacations as a child was the train ride to and from our destination.  After all, what better to witness the vast breadth of India than to watch cites, villages and hamlets whiz past in a colorful and noisy whirl?  So when I got accepted to Darden, I knew that I would be taking the Amtrak from Chicago to Charlottesville.
The train in question, the Cardinal, leaves from Chicago in the afternoon, zips through Indiana and Ohio in the night, and then gradually winds through Kentucky and West Virginia to get to Charlottesville after 24 hours.   It is a long train ride and rather tiring.  But I figured that this was one time in my life when I did not have the pressure of getting to my destination in the shortest amount of time possible and if not anything, it would be a grand adventure.
And adventure it was!  I had forgotten how trains foster friendships between the unlikeliest people. Late in the night, I found myself playing Go Fish with a minister from Kentucky, his teenage nephew, a kindergarten teacher from Georgia and a flutist from Tennessee.   In the morning, a family of Mennonite farmers shared their home-made muffins with me. And when we hit Appalachia, I sat in the dining room car staring through the windows drinking in the gorgeous views of the untamed mountains, creeks and rivers.
Best of all, it gave me time to think.  I had had a ball in the past 5 years. I had worked for an incredible and innovative company, moved twice - from the east to west and then to the mid-west and met some fantastically cool people along the way.  I knew that Darden was going to be different but no less transformative.
I come to Darden completely open to anything and everything new.  I want to learn, make friends and fully experience living in Charlottesville. 
This blog is about my discovering of Darden and Charlottesville - from academics to recruiting, from evenings crammed in learning team rooms to Friday nights in the Corner.

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