This afternoon, the Darden Student Bloggers held its first meeting to welcome its new, Class of 2011 bloggers into the digital fold. As is typical of any b-school gathering, there was plenty of cheese-covered unhealthiness to nibble on as we introduced ourselves, discussed issues of privacy and censorship and talked blogs. Toward the end of the meeting, one of the first years turned to me and asked if I'd experienced any negative recruiting repercussions by being so open about my early struggles at Darden. The question made me pause. I've always looked at this blog as an opportunity to share, in real-time, my relatively unfiltered view of Darden. As a result, it was only natural that I chronicled my DA angst, my long --and sometimes sleepless --nights and my tear-filled Black November. No recruiter has asked me about the posts I've written, but if they did, I'd like to think I'd be proud of them. Sure, they highlight personal weakness. And yes, they call attention to a difficult and far-from-seamless transition. But they're also a testament to my ability to push through. My tenure at Darden has been riddled with moments of self-doubt, aching frustration and even, heartbreak. Yet you know that age-old maxim -- "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? Well, in this case, it's proved true. Each DA spreadsheet I made, each restless night I weathered, each crushing ding I cried over contributed to an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. Because of all these things, I truly believe I'm a stronger person and a better leader. And I don't mind the world (or at least the five people who read this blog) knowing that.
So, as you fresh-faced bloggers take to your keyboards, I urge at least a couple of you to consider being really frank and open about your time at Darden. Own up to the fear, admit to the worry and share the lows as well as the highs. In doing so, you may give up the shiny, near-perfect facade. But you'll get a series of posts that make you realize just how strong you are.