Every year, around 400 First Years (1Ys) go on a Random Walk with a group of classmates they will have just met for the first time. The international excursions combine cultural experiences, nightlife, relaxation, and outdoor adventures to flex Boothies out of their comfort zone and offer opportunities to form lasting friendships (fellow TBEer Eli and I both went on the Mystery Random Walk our first year).
Each group of 12-14 1Ys is accompanied by four Second Year trip leaders (~120 from the entire 2Y class). While some of our classmates may think we leaders just can’t let go of our first year—after going to work this summer, I never want school to end—and want to relive our adventures from last year; I can assure you a little more goes into guiding the experience than just doing another random Random Walk.
For many admitted students from our Round 2 application cycle, this weekend will include a trip to Chicago for First Day festivities! We’re hoping those visiting are as excited as we are to get the show on the road and I can personally attest to the hard work our First Day has put in to make this a memorable few days and a pivotal moment in the decision on which business school to attend (Booth is the best!).
I remember my First Day experience two years ago centered on several things; learning about the school, learning about my classmates, and learning about the city of Chicago. It’s tough to fit it all in one weekend but our fellow classmates and Admissions staff here do a fantastic job giving admits access to as much information as can be handled in order to make an educated choice on attending.
For those who are not familiar, Random Walk is the deliciously nerdy name that Booth uses for our pre-orientation travel bonding experience. Groups of 10-12 incoming first years are led by 4 second years in a week-long trip to a foreign country. Through Random Walk, I’ve had the experience of snowboarding down the Andes in Chile and rappelling down a waterfall in Panama. Not only did I experience new ways to descend mountains, but I also developed a tight-knit network of friends who helped me navigate the intimidating transition of starting at a new school. In fact, I felt so close with my first year trip-mates that we decided to go on Random Walk again this year as the leaders of RW Panama. I couldn’t imagine my Booth Experience without Random Walk, and it seems like this year’s first years feel the same way:
Sushi, temples, robot shows, pagodas, baseball games, ramen, kimonos, karaoke, or sake bombs… These words could be used to describe virtually any trip to Japan, but they won’t be enough to entirely express the essence of a Booth Random Walk. No matter your destination, these pre-bschool excursions are corner stones of Chicago Booth’s tight-knit community. First year students depart from O’Hare International Airport as strangers, and return BFFs. Second year students lead these trips around the world, as a prize for our hard work during our summer internships. I was lucky enough to travel to Japan with my best friends at Booth, meeting fourteen fantastic incoming Boothies, while eating sushi every day, what else can I ask for?