This time tomorrow, I will officially be a resident of Philadelphia. Since I was admitted during round one (December), much of this transition has been anticlimactic for me since my excitement hit its zenith during admit weekend way back in February.
It’s not that I haven’t been excited about going to Wharton, but the drudgery of going through my same ‘ole routine everyday–going to work in particular–put a major kill on my buzz. Months and months went by without any real change in my routine. I enjoyed meeting and hanging out a few times with my classmates who were living in LA at the time, but those gatherings were just not enough to overcome the doldrums of reporting to work each day while feeling less and less engaged with each passing minute.
Then, two weeks ago, I shipped 12 boxes to Philly and hopped on a plane to Florida to see my parents. I had not been home for more than a week (usually no more than 4 days) in 13 years, so it was good to come back to where it all began and get grounded.
As much as I talk crap about my small hometown, it really is a quaint and relaxing place. It’s quiet and peaceful with 13 large, beautiful lakes full of swans and ducks. Palm trees grow wild and there is never any traffic. The tropical humidity, torrential rains and swarms of bugs, however, are for the m-f-in’ birds. I’ve gone through 8 cans of spray killing off huge wasp nests from the eaves around my parents home out in the boonies/suburbs (if you can really call it suburbs in a town with only 100k people).
I’m surprised I haven’t been shot after running around the backs of houses in the suburbs of Florida with two spray cans in tow looking like a burglar or a grafitti tagger (do they even have taggers in Florida?); though in Florida, apparently, all it takes is a bag of skittles #trayvon.
With my stepfather in a wheelchair now and my nana knocking 96 years of age, it was good to get to come home and help my mom out with them. I also needed to relieve her of taking care of everyone while she took a much needed pleasure trip to Canada to shop and sleep while ditching most or all of the workshops at a leadership retreat for her sorority.
People I’m Supposed to Meet
So I keep getting introduced to the same Whartonites from different people who don’t know each other. I’m taking that as a sign that these are people who I definitely need to meet. For instance, a few months ago, a buddy of mine from undergrad who’s been a banker at JPM/C since the early 2000’s introduced me to someone on FB who is in the Wharton MBA c/o 2014. He put us together knowing that we are both really into fitness. Then today, another buddy of mine who I knew during undergrad (different schools, same scholarship program) who got his MBA at Stern introduces me to the same person after I congratulated him on his engagement.
Then back in April or so, a friend in New York who is a play write introduced me to a Wharton alum that he said I definitely needed to know. Then months later my MOM is in Montreal at this sorority event when she strikes up a conversation with one of the breakout workshop speakers. My move to Philly/Wharton comes up, and as it turns out this speaker is an alum.
When mom gets home earlier this week she excitedly whips out the woman’s business card and I immediately realize that it is the same person who I spoke with in April; and as if this couldn’t get any more random, she’s apparently the keynote speaker (or one of the speakers) for the AAMBA retreat that I’ll be at next weekend. Really? My 60 year old mom is in on it now? How friggin’ random is that?
A New Zip Code, A New Lifestyle
I’m all packed up and pretty much ready to go save a mound of clothes that my parents are going to have to send to me UPS because they won’t fit in my luggage. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this whole concept of not having a car. Going from the #1 car culture in the world to a lifestyle that is almost 100% dependent on city transit is quite the change. I still don’t see how dating is supposed to work. Most women I’ve ever known see the lack of a car as an automatic deal breaker. So, I signed up for Zip Car earlier today so that I’d at least have easy and affordable access to a car when I needed one.
Painting the Town Blue and Red
The pre-Wharton partying has already began in Philly. Many of my classmates have been settled for a month or more, and as the larger mass of us begin to descend on Center City over the next week or so, I expect the festivities to hit fever pitch, climaxing in a back to school bash (I wished it had been named something else; that name makes me feel kinda like this is high school :/ ) a day or two before the start of pre-term. We plan to ransack some unsuspecting club, drink them dry and then disappear into the city. I’m armed with milk thistle to preemptively eliminate hangovers.
Finally, what I’ve spent the past almost 17 months working toward is upon me. After I land Tuesday afternoon, I’ll meet my landlord at my new place, sign up for a gym membership, then grab a zip car and hit Target to get some essentials to get me through my first night in the new place. The utilities are already on but I’ll end up waiting a few days before I have cable an internet. I’ve already mapped out a couple Starbucks that I can bum Wi-fi from on my personalized Google Map of Center City.
This time tomorrow, I will officially be a resident of Philadelphia. Let’s see how this goes.