When I was recruiting during fall semester of senior year, I met this first-year associate at one of my information sessions who was willing to schedule a 15-minute phone conversation after the information session was over. I asked her a couple of questions, and she responded with some very insightful answers. This was a position in finance, and considering how little exposure I have in finance in my life, I asked her for advice on how to navigate the finance recruitment process when I have not had any prior experience in finance. Then, she ended the phone call with some questions that touched upon what I wanted for myself in my career.
I wrote a cover letter and sent in my resume to its link in Handshake. I did not expect to hear back because, well, why would anyone want me? But a couple of weeks later, I received a first-round interview for the position. I had a pretty good idea of the culture and responsibilities. Yet, no matter how many practice interviews I did with my friends, it seemed that it was to no avail because I absolutely bombed that interview.
But, clearly, something was working because I got an invitation to a Superday a couple of days later. I never attended a Superday in my life before, so I sent another email to the first-year associate I met at the information session, and she gave me some more advice on how to navigate Superdays. In particular, she told me that it was composed of many interviews, so it’s okay if I shit myself in one of them as long as I do well in the rest of them. Low and behold, I shat myself in the first interview but kept my head held high because I knew I still had four more interviews to go. I exited the interview feeling conflicted. But, clearly her advice paid off because I received an offer a couple days later.
I am always amazed how how random our lives are. In the professional world, it is a seemingly set of random people in our lives that completely shape our understanding of what we want from ourselves. I originally had studied up on finance purely because I wanted a better shot at consulting — knowing how valuation works really helps with private equity cases.
I was fascinated with finance, but I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to recruit for finance at all in the beginning of the semester. Unlike individuals who have studied finance in college, the entirety of my knowledge of finance came from background knowledge from studying for consulting. But it was through my meeting with her, and countless others, that convinced me that I should pursue this interesting regardless of my background.
It got me thinking about the tone of my remembrances.
So often, I always think about what didn’t happen to me — the communities I have never formed in college that would have given me something to miss when I left college. This process is random. Yet, it is precisely its randomness that results in the separation of individual experiences. Some people meet certain people that causes them to think about the world in one way; some people meet other people that causes them to think about the world in another way. It doesn’t have to be close friends; every person we interact with changes how we think about the world one way or another, no matter how small the impact.
Yet, at the same time, so much of our live is also how we act in reaction to those interactions.
The nature of stochastic proccesses is that random variables behave, well, randomly. The same could be said about seemingly random events and people that come into our life. So often, I feel resentment towards life for not working out in the way that I wanted it to. There were so many experiences I have never had and so much life that I felt as if I wasted. But, I now realize, there isn’t really any point in living life being angry at a random variable.
So much of my life, I feel, has been waiting around for the outputs from a random variable that I could not control. I would be continuously running a rnorm function in R, and I would be blankly watching the outputs hoping that the results would somehow change without changing the mean and variance.
But, at the end of the day, a random variable still acts in accordance with the parameters you specify for it. A random variable is defined, and its function will not change unless someone changes its definition.
I reflect on my life for the past semester and wonder why it has been so much happier than all of the semesters that preceded it. Sure, I got all A’s this semester and have a girlfriend now. But, I’ve had these things in the past. There were moments in the past where I seemed to have everything I wanted, so why is the happiness I feel now so special?
I realize — more important the meeting a potential romantic partner is following up on the encounter. More important than finding someone who loves you is actually allowing yourself to be loved at all. More important than the things that happen to us is how we react to them.