When we come back from vacation, things will be different from when we left them. On Friday we had our last exam, took a celebratory picture on the stairs at the entrance of MM4, and celebrated with customary cañas and copas at Mercado Provenzal. But the E010 I walk into on March 30th won’t be the same because I’ll be the only one of us who’s still there. Instead of the forty of us in S3, I will be in a class of somewhere between 15 and 20, with none who I’ve ever had class before. There will be a sense of nostalgia in that room, even though we will have four more months before graduation. That first picnic in Las Vistillas the night before we started all of this in Segovia seems like a century ago, but in fact it’s only been six months since that first encounter for most of us.
Truth be told, I didn’t think I would ever write this, but as often happens, words started to flow as we took that photograph and enjoyed some moments together before we went off on our individual paths to enjoy some well-deserved time off. For a very long time I had this feeling that most of you despised me very much, that my New York English (with its vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and speed) made for more enemies than friends, and that compensating for my lack of experience with accounting and finance with participation was seen as snobbish and stand-offish. We were warned of these academic culture shocks; for those of us who studied in the American system in which a lack of participation resulted in your grades being lowered no matter how well you did on exams, we simply raise our hands because we have always been expected to. I also had a feeling that many of you thought I was an idiot, that my ideas did not matter. There were even some instances where I did not feel at all welcome, and times where I wanted to get on the next plane back to New York and give up because I did not think that I was worthy enough of a master’s degree or of any of you.
But like many of the things that worry us, at the end of the day, a number of them were all in my head. I never thought that I would get to this point and say thank you, but for the good and the bad, being in class from each of you made us all grow in our own way. I’ll miss sitting next to Antoine and in front of Amitesh, Karla, Natalia, and Francesca. I’ll miss being able to have Spanish time with Carla, Jorge, and Iñigo. And going to Little Big with Meg. Even the sometimes infantile behavior of some I may miss in class. I certainly wouldn't have gotten through this without Jorge, nor Carla, nor Francesca, Julia, Maria, and Meg in particular, but of course it wouldn't have been the same if one of us had not come to IE or had been in a different section. Those times outside of class, whether at Marieta, Julia and Isa’s house, CuchIEbamba, belting out karaoke at Sala Caravan, the Winter Ball black tie and all, or anywhere else in Madrid we may happen to be made all of the competition in class worth it.
Che Guevara, when describing the impact of his journey through Latin America in The Motorcycle Diaries said: “Yo ya no soy yo por lo menos ni soy el mismo yo interior.” However ironic the choice of a Che Guevara quote is when we are in fact studying Business Administration, it best manifests how being in class with all of you has, at the very least, changed me (even if some of you may find this to be doubtful).
This core period went by way too fast, but for how short it was, gracias por todo.