Thursday, December 15, 2011

Walking on Sunshine

"I used to think maybe you loved me..."

I'll be honest. This summer when I was reseraching schools, Kellogg didn't really do it for me.  Maybe it was the staid website or possibly the "K is only good for marketing" chatter on the MBA forums. Whatever it was I didn't have the stars in my eyes for Kellogg that I did for Booth (SKI TRIP!), Wharton, Stanford, and other schools. Still, one of my recommenders is a Kellogg alum and I thought it would be stupid to not try to take some small advantage in that.

Something funny happens when you take the time to get to know a school in order to write three to four sentences to answer the all important question, "Why Kellogg." You find out exactly why. I spent hours poring over Kellogg's website, reading professors' blogs, checking out student clubs, and learning about the curriculum.  I spoke to current students too. Somewhere in the middle of writing the second essay it hit me: I would love to do all of the wonderful things I'm writing about. I want to enter the Net Impact case competition. I want to do a Global Immersion.  I want to be a Board Fellow. Oh CRAP! I want to go to Kellogg.

This feeling was confirmed when I visited campus in November. Anyone who knows me will say that the best way to make a great first impression is to feed me and feed me well. There's a freakin cheesebar in the Allen Center! Havarti, gouda, brie, and so much more. There's a stirfry grill, soup buffet, and if I'm not mistaken I saw a sandwich station too.

Not only does Kellogg pass the food test, it passes the all important, "Can I see myself being here" test. When I was at dinner with current students and other prospectives at Prarie Moon, I could see myself leading a similar event next year. When I went for a morning run around Evanston I could see myself pulling on my Asics DS Trainers and hitting the roads for the next two years. During a marketing class, I could see myself contributing my thoughts on what a brand means to the discussion. And most importantly, as I looked around at all of the other prospective students, I could see them as my classmates. I wanted to spend two years hanging out with them at Buffalo Wild Wings, or organizing a conference, or studying for finals. I wanted to learn from them and be friends with them. The two days I spent at Kellogg made me feel like it was where I belong. I felt like I could be me and that would be more than alright.

And, I kind of got the feeling that they liked me too. When I sat down for my interview with a first year student all of the nerves that had overwhelmed me the night before just dissipated. All of a sudden the incoherent answers that I had practiced the night before became concise and clear. I knew exactly where to lead my interviewer and he seemed happy to follow. In fact after one of my answers about leadership he even said, "That's very mature." After the interview we even comiserated about having difficult to pronounce names (he just has everyone call him by his last name, while I simply let people butcher mine at will). Flying home I just knew that I'd get in.

But time and distance can often make us question that of which we are sure.  With over a month between my interview and the decision release I slowly began to question if I had read things right. What if it was a case of me projecting my feelings about Kellogg onto their feelings for me. As November drew to a close and December began the dread set in. I'd say that 90% of applicants have a great feeling about their essays, resume, recs, and interview, but only 17% get in. Although I loveded Kellogg and saw the perfect fit that didn't mean that they had to feel the same way. Trolling GMATClub forums only added to the sense of impending doom. I read last year's Kellogg Applicants thread. Maybe I was looking for an indication of when notifications would go out, or possibly I was trying to live vicariously through last year's admitted applicants. I don't know. What I do know is that as many times as I envisioned writing the "I got the call! Im IN!!" post, I had just as many thoughts of opening an email that leads straight to a Deny or Waitlist decision. Each day that decisions weren't released brought an ironic mix of relief and increased anticipation. Relief that a bomb would not be dropped on my email account that day and greater anticipation of the, "Welcome to Kellogg" phone call admitted students were supposed to get. The chat rooms were abuzz with speculation that the decisions would be released the week of Dec. 5, then Dec. 12, then not til Dec. 14. And as each day ticked by without a peep from Kellogg my paranoia mounted. It hit me when I went to get pizza and left just as quickly as I wrote R2 essays for another school. But then the first admit report came and paranoia took up residence in me and refused to leave. Minute by minute the Kellogg applicant thread ballooned with more admissions news.
"I got the call!!"
"In, with money too!!"
"Just got off the phone with Kellogg. I made it"

I read these and listened to the silence of my phone not ringing. My heart pounded, my stomach tightened, and my knee shook. I kept telling myself it was only the first day. I had nothing to be nervous about. However, the more my phone didn't ring the more I wanted to puke. The feeling that I had while in Evanston was gone, replaced by fear and a sense of impending doom.  I used to think maybe they loved me....

Now baby I'm sure!
Monday came and went without a phone call making Tuesday morning torturous. I knew that Kellogg released admits as well as dings and WL decisions at the same time. I checked my email incessently, praying not to see the notification star over my inbox. I tried to distract myself with work and I avoided GMATClub like the plague. My neurosis was bad enough without adding other people's crazy to it. And then it happened. A fire drill not unlike other fire drills popped up at work and I had to take care of it. I was so busy taking care of it that I forgot to listen for my phone. And just when I stopped listening for the traditional ring tone, I heard it. On the second ring I looked at the screen and saw the area code I'd wanted to see all day flashing.  And when I picked up my phone and Yhana Chavis asked if I knew why she's calling, I knew for sure that the feelings were mutual. They liked me as much as I liked them. So, in honor of reciprocated feelings I'd like to sing a little ditty to all of you...

I used to think maybe you loved me, now baby I'm sure
And I just can't wait til the day that you knock on my door
Now every time I go for the mailbox, gotta hold myself down
Cause I just can't wait til you write me you're coming around

I'm walking on sunshine! (Whoa ooh oohh)
I'm walking on sunshine! (Whoa ooh oohh)
I'm walking on sunshine! (Whoa ooh oohh)
And don't it feel good! (Hey!)
Alright now!
And don't it feel good! (Hey!)

I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel a love that's really real
I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel a love that's really real
I'm on sunshine baby yeah!
Walking on sunshine...


Anonymous said...

Wow an excellent post ... Couldn't have summed up my feelings leading up to the D-day any better ... and Congratulations :)

Unknown said...

Sheesh! pyarapopat beat me to the comment. Exactly my feelings. Thank you for the wonderful post which sums up pretty much everything.

I wasn't even planning to apply to Kellogg till I attended the information session hosted by Michele herself. I was just sold big time then.

And then the interview simply sealed it for me. I knew there was a connect and I knew then that I was in :D. Therefore, the final email was an anti-climax :P.

Anyways... onwards.

mango :) said...

Congratulations!! How exciting!! I felt the same way about the campus visit :)