Spring break, it seems, is an exciting time at Fuqua. In just a few minutes at the airport the Sunday after Spring 1 finals, I ran into people traveling to five different continents. After the chaos of Spring Term 1, a two-week spring break in some exotic locale seemed to be a fully appropriate manner of rewarding ourselves for a job well done. However, the generous time and space provided for this hiatus also had a way of creating some serious anticipation when the final term of the school year rolled around in late March.
Starting class again, after a prolonged absence, presented its own challenges. Each term, from my brief experience here, is something of an uphill climb. It’s a double-edged sword, to be sure; in fact, at the end of the term, it’s satisfying to be able to reflect on all the tasks that have fallen. By contrast, at the beginning of the term, one can only see the pile of assignments that lay ahead in the next six weeks, and, to put it politely, it can be rather overwhelming, especially as we’re returning to Durham just barely half caught up with our pre-assignments. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Drop/Add period seems so tempting for so many people in the first week.
But alas, this term represents the figurative home stretch, and as March Madness heats up, it’s hard not to feel a pervasive sense of optimism throughout the halls here at Fuqua. By this point, a majority of the class has secured summer internships, and with the realization that these internships are often auditions for full-time jobs, the last term may be a time for a working respite of sorts. There’s class work to be done, sure, but it’s more elective and everyone by their late 20s probably realizes that there’s a possibility of burnout when combining a stressful job with a rigorous academic schedule. It seems it’s best to balance the two with all the enjoyments that come along with springtime in Durham.
More so than anything, the final spring term appears to be a time of transition. As naïve first years, we came into Fuqua months ago thinking we’d be permanently saddled with case work and final exams, and that there’d be little relief from the academic work at any point. However, as the second years get ready to depart for the real world, it’s becoming more and more apparent to us that, all along, we’ve really been preparing for leadership roles, whether academically or in extra-curricular activities. Spring, as any biologist would tell you, is a time of metamorphosis, when nature’s old guard is replaced, and in some metaphysical sense, the same dynamic is at work here. We’re getting ready for summer and for all the effort that our internships will require, but we’re also in the process of building relationships that are going to help us be the next generation of leaders in a school that’s renowned for them. At some point in the near future, first years are going to be looking to us for guidance in the same endearing fashion in which we did merely months ago, and now appears to be the time to ready ourselves, whatever that entails.