Today marks two months since I left New Haven for what my friend jokingly refers to as “the best coast,” and I have to admit that I’ve never felt more at home than I have here. Only eight weeks in, I have already developed a host of routines and traditions: my favorite running trail in Golden Gate Park, a new spiritual home and my go-to spot for a celebratory, end-of-week Friday night dinner, where you will always find me at 7 o’clock picking up soya tofu and udon noodles for takeout. (The restaurant boasts a variety of Cantonese fare at prices that mirror Hong Kong’s street side eateries, all of which remind me of my childhood home.) I even have a favorite bus driver on the way home from work. His name is Rafael, and the other day, out of sheer happiness, I gave him a fist bump good-bye. (He was startled at first, but we are definitely pals now.)
Bulldogs on the West Coast
That’s not to say, however, I am not looking forward to going back to New Haven, and even here on the opposite coast, the Yale SOM community remains surprisingly strong. On the incoming end, I have been fielding calls and emails from members of the Class of 2015, and this past Saturday, a classmate and I hosted an admissions social in the city for prospective and matriculating students. On the other end, I cannot stop running into alumni: My landlord’s son is apparently an alumnus, and at work, I have grabbed lunch and now crack jokes with another alumnus, who happens to be the head of business development for the organization where I am interning this summer. Ribbing aside, though, this same alumnus has gone out of his way to help me explore career interests at Google, and to me, his mentorship is just another testament to the tight-knit community of SOM. While other schools may boast extensive networks in absolute numbers, time and again, I have been surprised by the hospitality of the alumni at SOM in particular and in the greater Yale community. Though our school may have one or two alumni where other schools have multiple, my experience suggests that our one or two alumni will be just as, if not more, helpful in their responsiveness and generosity with their wisdom.
What I Love About Yale: The Community
At the same time, I have been keeping in regular touch with my two favorite directors at our Career Development Office, Deepa and Dave. By day, they serve as coaches who help me develop my professional networking strategy, but by night, they moonlight as cheerleaders who celebrate with me when, say, I receive an auspicious midpoint performance review. They have been so helpful and encouraging that in our next call, I think I’m going to ask them to help tackle my dating life…. All this boils down to one fact that I keep sharing my incoming and prospective students: the intimate SOM community—one predicated on authentic, personal relationships—is one of my favorite aspects of SOM. In fact, it is why, though I could never have fathomed saying this a year ago, I’m actually really excited to go back to Yale in a few weeks to kick off my second year.