Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yes We Canderbilt

My mother and I were the first
to arrive at the station.
Tuesday was our first official event as a cohort at Scala's Bistro in Union Square. The Vanderbilt cohort as well as a few other people met promptly at 6:00, where Don briefed us on what was going to happen over the course of the evening, as well as how to use our clipper cards. Before I get into the details of the evening, first and foremost, I have some fashion tips to share. If you're like me and you have long hair, figure out a style that holds all of your hair down tightly. We didn't walk for very long but San Francisco is extremely windy and since my hair was loose it was flying all over the place. By the time we got to Scala's I looked like I had narrowly missed being swept up by a tornado. (This also makes me wonder why Chicago is the one called the "Windy City" when San Francisco should totally be a contender for the title.) My second tip is to avoid wearing heels if at all possible. Yes, you may adore your 4 inch patent leather Mary Janes. Leave them in your cupboard at home...just trust me on this one.

The lobby above Scala's 
Once we arrived at Scala's we met an abundance of Vanderbilt alumni. Apparently Vanderbilt has one of the strongest alumni networks, with over 2400 alums in the Bay Area alone. Before settling down for our meal we got to mingle with the other attendees. I made an effort to speak to the people that I knew I wouldn't be sitting with later in the evening, since I would not have an opportunity to talk to them later. One of these people was Ms.Word. Unlike many of the other alumni present, she had gone to Vanderbilt for graduate school. She was accepted into Vanderbilt's business program, which is also a very male dominated field, and therefore she had a very unique perspective to share. 

After around twenty minutes of introducing myself and hearing about all the different career paths people took after going to Vanderbilt, we found our seats and listened to the speakers. After Ms. Kronenberg welcomed and introduced everybody, David Sanchez, a recent graduate, gave a very comprehensive speech about how "Vanderbilt was right for me, and it can be right for you too." Then Arnold represented our cohort wonderfully with his speech about how much he was looking forward to Vanderbilt. He was very eloquent, and did a great job expressing the gratitude all of us feel towards the program. 

Once the speeches were over, we settled down and I started talking to the alumni I was seated with Nick and Meghan, as well as our chaperone, Ms. Jenny Sklar Gilbert. Everyone was incredibly friendly and I felt very comfortable talking with them. We spent a lot of the evening discussing how important it was to "know people" when applying for a job, since the alumni network for Vanderbilt is so strong. Meghan stressed that it really comes down to how proactive you are, during college as well as after. Nick talked about how supportive the faculty is at Vandy if you take it upon yourself to reach out to them. Since Meghan went to UC Davis after finishing her undergraduate education. I took this chance to ask about how challenging the shift from Tennessee to California was and the merits of a mid-sized school versus a large one. I feel like I was incredibly fortunate to have the table-mates that I did since they were fascinating and very open to staying in contact with me after the dinner in case I had any questions.

As the evening wound down and people started expressing their desire to get home due to commitments the next day, Don gathered all of us for a group photo. As always, getting everyone to keep their eyes open and stop fidgeting was a bit of a struggle, but we eventually managed it! On the way back Gwennie, Katherine and I almost got left behind during a transfer since we didn't know where everyone had gone and were waiting for them before entering the next train. Both of them also found about my rather embarrassing...distrust of the escalators that take you to a lower level (I maintain that it is a totally valid fear since I tripped down one once.) It was great getting to know my cohort better and I can't wait to spend more time with them this summer as we go on this journey together.

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