Despite plenty of activities going on within the program itself, it would be impossible for me to recount my week in ESTEEM without acknowledging what has been a truly extraordinary and unanticipated series of recent events. Having borne witness to some of the most shocking upsets in recent history, including Brexit, the incredible Cubs World Series victory, our intramural soccer team’s heart-wrenching quarter final loss, and Taylor Johnson’s acceptance into Notre Dame, the year of 2016 might be more accurately deemed the Year of the Underdog, and on Tuesday night that moniker was again reinforced following the surprise election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. While the result was certainly unexpected and in some cases polarizing both across the nation and in ESTEEM itself, it was cool to see the discourse here in the program stay both civil and invigorating, a comforting reassurance that despite our diverse assortment of backgrounds, an informed and open minded exchange of ideas is always possible. It’s also worth noting that the overwhelmingly default response to each of these markedly different historical events, regardless of sports allegiances or political leanings, has been an extended visit to O’Rourkes Irish Pub.
Interestingly enough my week was bookended by visits to two places central to this most unpredictable of years: Chicago and Washington D.C. After buying a Cubs shirt about an hour before Game 7 and shamelessly leaping onto the Chicago bandwagon, my lifelong commitment to The Cubbies was effectively sealed. I don’t have much of a baseball acumen but I was lucky enough to sit next to the knowledgeable Mitchell Cornely during the game, who among other things was instrumental in helping me realize that my favorite Cubs player was not José Baez but in fact Javier Baez. With newfound confidence in my
baseball knowledge, the excitement of a quenched 108-year drought, and the encouragement of the silver-tongued Nessan Harpur (whose argument for postponing Thesis work was irrefutable), I took advantage of a break in courses to make a pilgrimage to the Windy City itself. Our plan was to bask in the victorious glow that my fellow cubs fans and I had waited so long to enjoy, and the city did not disappoint; the Cubs parade on Friday was ranked the 7th largest mass gathering in history! Would it have ranked so high if Nessan and I hadn’t attended? I haven’t looked at the exact numbers, but either way it was an incredible experience that I won't soon forget.
It was back to business on all fronts come Monday, and much like the streets of Downtown Chicago I felt slightly overwhelmed. As such I decided it would be best to forego my daily Solidworks tutorials and instead focus on my Thesis and the classes at hand, particularly the Technical Marketing simulation in which our mock company Aviato is currently struggling to compete in the desktop market. Fortunately my team of co-workers comprised of CEO Paul Goebel, Chief of Marketing Research Emily Tokorowski, Chief of Advertising Connor Ratycz, and Financial Intern Mitchell Cornely is as resilient as it is determined, and I think a change in the winds may be at hand in the world of pretend computer sales…
As mentioned previously the Election on Tuesday night had everyone riveted, but I personally had little time to process the outcome before I had to be on my way to Washington D.C. along with fellow ESTEEM colleague and all around great guy Chris Broecker. It was awesome getting a chance to visit the Booz Allen Hamilton innovation center downtown, which had all kinds of groundbreaking gadgets and new technologies, and there was something pretty surreal about being a mere few blocks away from a meetingbetween the President and President Elect. Thankfully we were able to stay grounded enough to avoid bumping into anything expensive.
As I returned to South Bend on Friday I began questioning the infallibility of Nessan’s Thesis-postponement argument from the previous week… nevertheless it was good to be back after a jam-packed couple of days. With the final football game to look forward to and the holiday season hot on its tail, its safe to say that there’s plenty to be thankful for in the ESTEEM Program right about now.