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One hundred years of menbroza

| Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“When we are old and grey and full of sleep

And nodding by the fire…

What do you still remember about Mendoza?”

Many years later as he faces the old Mendoza building, dwarfed by another Jenkins Hall right next door, he still vaguely recalls that distant afternoon when he was trapped in a conference room on the second floor with the most ancient fear of taking that Business Ethics exam.

He pondered for a while. For the thousands of classmates of his, how many of them grew to be dedicated and honest business leaders? He’d like to think that all of them got an A in the class because of something other than their phenomenal test taking skills.

At that time, Mendoza was a four story building, camouflaged with tree branches in the corner of campus and silently employing a solemn main entrance leading into a glittering hall of fame. The side door was always swarmed with cheerful and prideful students who, according to the outside world, were about to sign deeds with demons and sell their souls. It was a much simpler time when he was a sophomore and the most dreadful things he had to confront were the Mendoza curve and the college requirements.

“Ha, what a good time to be alive.” He says to himself.

There gathers a group of newbies just finishing their mandatory orientation meeting for Mendoza. They would soon dispatch like a pack of alert wolves looking for their games. At night they gather again to plot out their big plans for beating the horrendous curve. He still remembers how his gang of dudes congregated in their dorms to talk about each one professor in specifics — who gave out the easiest assignments, who usually didn’t care about the curve — he absolutely enjoyed each and every step towards finishing those college requirements.

Just like most other Mendoza kids, he had a predetermined major in mind as he entered into his sophomore year. Yet just like anyone else he was forced to take many, many designated courses before being able to officially declare the major he was certain about for a while. They said that was what made Mendoza special, since most other undergraduate business schools didn’t do such thing and Mendoza allowed you to be flexible through exploring. Yet why wasn’t there an opt-out option if he did not feel like exploring?

As he looks back on his path, he strangely remembers nothing about what was taught in those sophomore classes, as they turned out to be not so commemorative after all. He learned most things in his junior year classes or outside of classes, and all he remembered was the planning, plotting and, of course, meetings with advisors.

He walks closer and sees a tall, stern looking woman with an aquiline nose and metal frame glasses, hair drawn to a tight bun. That woman gives him a sharp look in the eye and still sends down a chill down his spine.

Unfortunately, during his short yet glorious undergraduate days at Notre Dame, he never felt connected to his advisor. While some friends bluff about how they could easily make themselves seem vulnerable and adorable in front of the advisors, and they could laugh at the silly jokes that he wouldn’t make in a hundred years — well, that never worked for him. He could never pull out a joke in front of those austere and unrelenting women. He sat down in front of them, and their harsh critique on his proposed plan of study destroyed his sincere zeal for academia.

Because of the curriculum requirements in Mendoza, most of his classmates didn’t get to take a language class. He was lucky that he was able to shift things around and start a new language, but when he told his advisor he would like to study abroad to further his language skills, they told him no. They scolded him for not telling them earlier, because if he had told them his plan for his junior year the first semester of his freshman year, he could go.

But no, he was not so good at planning things out and eventually he started sobbing like a big baby. So he went to London, like everyone else did.

A student walks past him, gaits like that of confident charging bull. Suddenly he feels a sense of nostalgia when the past scenes start flashing back and the late nights he spent in this building arise. He explored every inch of the building, even the corner desk right next to the staircase on the fourth floor, and he even recited the honor code out loud before signing his Business Law paper.

But what did Mendoza teach him? He asks himself. A sense of brotherhood, and an attitude of pessimistic optimism in life that ensures him things will work out after they fall apart.

Disclaimer: all the characters in the article are purely fictional, and only intended for sarcastic purposes.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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