Our learning team met for the last time on Wednesday. After six months of meeting five night a week for several hours a night, we’re done. Poof. It’s the end of this part of our Darden experience.
Learning team has meant a lot to me. When we were first assigned to our teams back in September, everyone said it would be one of the most important and special things we did at Darden. Our learning team would become like a family, they said.
I don’t know if we ever became a family. We weren’t wacky, like the learning team that brought beer to its first meeting and spent one evening launching massive paper airplanes off the Darden balcony. We weren’t cozy, like the learning teams who regularly had dinner at each other’s houses and hung out with each other’s families.
But Jenn, Hunter, Santiago, Scott and Mike have been crucial to my Darden experience. They taught me to use Excel. They got me through Decision Analysis class. They helped me see the world with different eyes – as a Korean, an Argentine, a West Coaster, an analyst, an Army officer, a consultant, a landscape architect. And they gave me the best gift a learning team can: they allowed me to screw up.
I remember one night I was sharing a spreadsheet for some quant-heavy class, and it was completely and utterly wrong. We walked through it, eventually switching to another teammate’s model. I was embarrassed and a little worried about my credibility with the group. Who wants to listen to the girl who can’t get it right? But the next night, everything was the same. My ideas were heard and considered, and I wasn’t tainted by my lousy performance. The generosity of my learning team was moving.
We lingered last night. I think it’s partly because it was the end of the week and partly because most of us have internships lined up and are now only burning the candle at one-and-a-half ends. There’s time now to linger.
But I think it was partly because it was the end of something. We started talking about those first few weeks, when it took us four hours to work through an evening’s cases and we’d still go to class with imperfect models and unanswered questions. We talked about how glad we were none of us was a subject expert (no accountants, no I-bankers), which forced all of us to work harder and ask more questions.
And we remembered how we just seemed to click. It took time (most of us are kind of shy) but we got to know each other, as students and as people, and we worked really, really well together. Amazingly well. In six months, we didn’t have one cross word with each other.
And that’s more than a lot of families can say.