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The Orientation before Orientation

Tomorrow is the first day of classes. As Eddie so nicely captured in his blog post, orientation was a fun, yet action-packed week and a half of getting to know our new classmates and the Yale SOM community. However, for the majority of our class, orientation actually started well before we picked up our student IDs and laptops last Wednesday. Shortly after the Winter Welcome event for admitted students last February, one my classmates (Jacob Ritvo) had the brilliant idea of creating a Google group for Class of 2012 admits. For those not familiar with a Google group, it is a user run discussion forum that allows members to connect through an email mailing list. After reading through the first group thread where classmate after classmate introduced themselves to an email list full of strangers, it became readily apparent that everyone was eager to embark on the shared experience that is Yale SOM. From New York and Boston to South Africa and London, meet up after meet up was planned. Questions about enrollment, summer preparatory work and laptops were answered and those already living in New Haven passed on useful tips about life in the ‘Have. Roommates and apartments were found and the Class of 2012 Fantasy Football league was formed. And then the round 2 and 3 admits joined in … and the fun started all over again. The Google group experience culminated on the Thursday before orientation when over 75 Class of 2012ers headed to BAR in an attempt bring the extraordinary community that was built online to life. Needless to say, the event was a huge success and the festivities continued throughout the rest of the weekend. From a personal standpoint, the power of the Google group and the Yale SOM community didn’t really hit me until May, when I headed to London for 6 weeks. A few weeks before leaving for the UK, I sent out an email to the Google group to see if there was any interest in a holding a London meet up. Despite not being in London for that long, I was able to meet up with four classmates – exploring Museum Row with a Philadelphian, checking out London nightlife with a Texan and watching an England World Cup victory at a pub with two local Londoners. With only 235 students in our class, I knew that part of Yale SOM experience would be the collaborative community. I just didn’t realize that part of the experience would start so soon.