The Booth (Partners) Experience

It’s pretty crazy how fast time in Chicago has passed. I remember first moving here with Justin and feeling nervous, not knowing what to expect. It was also my first time leaving Texas. I honestly expected Justin wouldn’t really have much time to spend with me (which proved not to be true); that he’d be busy with recruiting and Booth events, leaving me at home.

So, I made sure to not be a homebody— I told myself I needed to be very proactive when I moved here and joined the Booth Partners Club almost immediately. I joined in on some of the Booth festivities whenever open to partners of students. A few TNDCs have been attended… (much to my regret the morning after). I went to as many events as I could to make friends. I wanted to make sure I had a good network of my own while living in Chicago.

Justin and I are both pretty social, so making friends hasn’t been a problem! Not only have I met a ton of partners, I’ve also met a ton of Boothies. Overall, I’d say I probably have made just as many friends as Justin.

Being a Partner at Booth has been great. The group is pretty active and very social, hosting events constantly. I’ve met a lot of people because of it and know that I’ll continue to be friends with them even after we move on to the next chapter post-Booth.

I enjoyed the events the first year, so I wanted to pay it forward and became an officer of the Partners group this year—specifically the food and wine subgroup because I absolutely love food. I wanted to make sure that any incoming first-year partners knew that they had a group of friends that would be there for them in case they had any fears or concerns about being part of the Booth community. And being able to chat with people over “frosty beverages” and yummy food—what better way to bond?!

I think one of the most important aspects of our relationship during our time at Booth is that we have regular date nights, to specifically disconnect and decompress from the world and just focus on us. We’ll either try a new restaurant in Chicago (one of my favorites being Avec!), a local spot in the South Loop when we’re too lazy to travel too far (Flo and Santos is a regular go-to!), or we’ll make a meal at home! I love to cook, so that one is always a favorite option (not to mention the money saving).

One of my favorite traditions is cooking for Valentine’s Day. Instead of dealing with the hassle of making reservations, we prepare a dish and bake something nice. This year we plan on making a beef wellington. When it comes to cooking, I love trying new things I’ve never tried before. And Justin will tell you, I always try to outdo myself.

I would say food is a pretty huge aspect of our relationship (haha). While we do primarily travel for the tasty foods, the culture and the experience of the countries we visit are pretty big reasons, too. In the same vein, I’m super excited to go on the annual second year student-led Booth Right trip to Israel! I’m told the food there is amazing, and from what I hear, the restaurants being planned are going to be ah-maaaa-zing. But also, the itinerary sounds incredible and I can’t wait to travel to a country with so much history. What makes it even more exciting is that we probably wouldn’t have the same experience in Israel if Justin and went there on our own. Booth really does give many opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have.

I think the nicest surprise of this whole experience has been that even though I’m a Partner, I still feel like I’m part of the Booth community. I have had the chance to do things I wouldn’t have expected and met many people I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to meet. It’s been a very remarkable chapter indeed. And for all that, I’m grateful.

Peter Petrzala is the VP of Marketing for the Booth Partners Club and is the author of cookbook My Slovak Kitchen, which cites recipes from his childhood.

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