At this time last year, I was pretty clueless – all I knew is I made a big scary choice to change my life, and I was going with it. Coming to Darden turned out to be the best professional and personal decision of my life. Now, as I impatiently look forward to re-entering the Darden Bubble for my Second Year (SY), it occurs to me there are lots of things I want to do this year. So, here are my Second Year Resolutions:

  1. Be here now. This summer I met a captivating and wonderful Darden alum/champion/trustee who has mastered the art of being entirely present. This CEO and businessman puts his iPhone away, looks at you and focuses, engages, responds genuinely and cares. It’s at once intimidating (why is this person paying so much attention to…. me?) and energizing (I can do this, too!). From what I can tell, this type of disciplined “now-ness” is rooted in being committed to the right here, right now; absorbing and responding to the present circumstance, whatever it is, with 100% of your attention. Not checking your messages, making mental to-do lists or worrying about what’s for lunch or what time you’ll make it home. When was the last time you truly dedicated your attention wholly to one circumstance? For goodness sake, I’ve sent two texts in the few minutes I’ve been writing this paragraph. But as a personal tool, whenever I try being here now, I’m rewarded amply with a better experience of my daily life. As a business tool, I can only imagine being here now is terrifically challenging (how many boring meetings have you drifted in and out of?) but insanely effective. Not to mention, 100% focus probably means one solves problems, makes connections and fosters flashes of brilliance WAY better. For my SY, I want to practice being here now as much as possible.    
  2. Dance more. Ok, this is silly, but really doing any type of dancing is one of those things that always, always, always gives me a perma-grin. So it’s a no-brainer…. Dance more. Sunday Night Salsa Club with Miss MBA, hooray!
  3. Help First Years. During my first semester, I was fortunate to experience an abundance of support in my life. I needed it – wouldn’t have made it through FY without cheerleading, encouragement, perspective, a couple infusions of cash money and a bunch of hugs. A few empathetic SYs who were at the time random strangers boosted me up, told me repeatedly I’d be fine (and meant it, the first time and the hundredth time), offered Excel assistance and generally made things much more bearable. Why? Presumably from the kindness of their hearts, and from having been there themselves. Turns out I made some great friends as a result – it’s not every friendship that starts with one party flailing about in needy, sleep-deprived chaos for months on end, but now I get it. And I’m committed to paying it forward and being a cheerleader to incoming FYs.

Of course I’ll still keep all my regular goals (Get fit! Throw fabulous parties! Resist the M&M jar! Land my dream job!), but my new three are pretty exciting ones to add to the mix. I’m ready to start the best year yet! (yes, i’m a perpetual optimist, but hey – life is good!)