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Return of the Second Years

In the 2+ weeks since starting school, the Class of 2012 had our run of the place. We were free to get to know all of our classmates, to converse with our various professors, and to explore SOM's labyrinthine campus. But just when we were getting into a groove, we were given a big jolt this week: the return of the second years. (Mild apologies for the effusive praise that follows.)We watched in awe as they filed back to campus. The battle-hardened veterans staked out their usual hang-outs to exchange summer war stories: internship experiences, job offers, far-flung travels, and expected bundles of joy. The first-years were all eager to meet the upper class, but some quietly wondered how we could pierce the impressive aura. Only a few brave souls tried early. But, as it turned out, the second-years were already prepared to embrace us. On Day 1 they hosted BBQs for each of the cohorts, on Day 2, they held a festive student club fair followed by an evening on the town, and on Day 3 they held panels to share with us their insights on internship experiences and recruiting. Many have reached out to us as formal and informal mentors. And they lace even passing conversations with reassuring memories and helpful advice. It all seems to follow some unspoken SOM philosophy I have observed: that the entire community -- the faculty, the staff, and now the second-years -- does what it can to help each class surpass the previous. That said, I wonder how many of us can even imagine being as sharp, as eloquent, and -- I"ll say it -- as good-looking as our seniors. Probably none in the near future. Maybe we'll first beat them at the annual inter-class hockey game?