My Week in ESTEEM: March 19-23, 2018

Author: Nic Zenker

Nicolas ZenkerNicolas Zenker

Our week in Silicon Valley was amazing, but now it’s back to the grind. I use the term “grind” lovingly – it feels good to be back in the routine.

On Monday I slept in, which was weird for me. I try to be up at 6:00 on weekday mornings so I can get some work done before most people are up and the day’s distractions can start catching up with me. Our class schedule is pretty light after Spring Break until Easter however, with only 3 classes this week; Business and Tech Ethics, Design Your Life, and a tech elective (mine is Python).

So without too much to do, I slept in.

When I did get up, I did the usual shower / breakfast / email routine, then watched the first episode of Dirty Money on Netflix for my Business and Tech Ethics homework. This episode is on the Volkswagen Emissions Cheating Scandal. Later that afternoon, in our Ethics class, we discussed the episode, and questions like, "Are a company’s impact on society part of its business decisions, or are they separate considerations?" And "What effect does the culture of a firm have on the conduct of its employees?"

After Ethics I went to the new climbing wall in the Duncan Student Center with Adrian (a buddy in ESTEEM) to get a workout in. From climbing I went home to find some dinner, then went to an intermural grad-student soccer game at 8:30. Notre Dame has a really strong intra- and intermural sports program which is definitely worth tapping into if you’re looking for a chance to be competitive and work out at the same time.

On Tuesday I went to Jefferson Intermediate, a local middle school, to volunteer in the classroom with an outreach program from the Robinson Community Learning Center. We had an awesome time playing strategy games and doing various creative thinking and writing activities. It was my first day volunteering there, and I can’t wait to go back!

Later on Tuesday we had our first Design Your Life class, which is a class… well, pretty much about Designing Your Life. It’s being taught by Kyle Williams (a member of the ESTEEM staff), it’s optional, and it’s not-for-credit. Needless to say, over ¾ of the ESTEEM class signed up. We discussed how the age when individuals enter adulthood is getting older and older, and what that means for us. We also discussed how there are two common routes that individuals take. Some graduate from college, and almost immediately take a long-term job, get married, and start a family. Others wander for a while after graduation college, moving from job to job trying out different professions, and dating around, trying to figure out the type of person they want to enter a committed relationship with. Members of both groups of individuals have something in common – many start having second thoughts about their lives between the age of 28 and 32. Many of the group that made big life decisions and committed early start second guessing if the jobs they are working are right for them, if the person they married was the right one for them, etc. Many of the group that wandered are envious of the first group’s stability and security, and are asking a different sort of question, like "When will this search end?"  This is the class I’m most looking forward to continuing in the weeks to come.

Tuesday was rounded out by a futsal club practice in the evening.

The rest of the week went very quickly. Wednesday afternoon was my Python tech elective, Thursday was taken up with work for AddEvent (my thesis company), hanGing out with friends, and playing racquetball with a buddy from undergrad (tons of fun, would absolutely recommend).

The ESTEEM program has a tendency to throw an immense amount of work at us a certain times, then give us almost nothing to do at others. This was one of the easier weeks, and it was a great chance to catch up on sleep, spend time with friends in the program, and prepare for the weeks ahead.