The opportunity to show your merit over a ten week

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the opportunity to show your merit over a ten-week period, as opposed to relying on a thirty-minute interview to persuade someone to hire you. Graduating from college was bittersweet. I’d loved my four years at Stanford, felt privileged to have attended on scholarship, and was sad to be leaving. My mind had been opened to things I would never have thought of in Johannesburg. I had made close, lifelong friends, and now we were being dispersed all around the country. I had studied hard enough, but had managed to have fun, too. In my senior year, I was the social manager of Casa Italiana—in theory, a place for Italian majors or minors to immerse themselves in Italian language and culture; in actuality, thanks to its location smack in the middle of campus, a great place for parties, with the best chef at Stanford. I had a $2,000-per-quarter budget to throw parties for the whole school, and I threw them. We had a Jazz Night, a Sake Night, a Karaoke Night… I didn’t have any classes before noon my whole senior year. I would often think, This is so funny —in just a few months my alarm is going to be going off every morning at 5:00 A.M. How the hell am I going to wake up? I was on that college schedule of staying up till all hours and sometimes sleeping through lunch. It was great while it lasted. Graduation weekend was a special time. My mom flew over from Johannesburg; my cousins came in from Chicago, as did my aunt from Florida. The day my mother arrived, we were attending a small graduation barbecue when, suddenly, a motorcade of three black SUVs pulled up and Chelsea Clinton, whom I’d known in passing from my freshman dorm, stepped out along with her dad (out of office just a few months) and Hillary. We all got to chat with the Clintons and shake their hands, and they posed for an endless series of pictures with overeager moms and dads, who seemed to have forgotten that the Clintons were proud parents, too. Bill and Hillary were beaming with happiness for Chelsea. I was always impressed by how nice and composed Chelsea was—even during the soap opera going on at the White House during our freshman year. The graduation speaker for the Class of 2001 was Carly Fiorina, a Stanford grad and the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company, she had been named “The Most Powerful Woman in Business” by Fortune magazine a few years earlier. That day, she gave a very poignant speech, comparing her life to a novel that she had edited down, page by page, until she had distilled it into a one-page essence. She recommended that we all go through a similar process in the course of our lives. Her speech had a powerful impact on me, and I have reread it many times over the years. A few of my friends and I snagged front-row seats at the commencement address and were captured in a candid photograph that ended up featured prominently in our Class of 2001 yearbook.
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