Cohort: Companionship, Cooperation, Coexistence

I had written a blog earlier this quarter about coming full circle in the program.  I had talked about how navigating the workload as a graduate non-degree student last spring was markedly different than doing so with the support and power of the Cohort.  And I had promised to give the Cohort a shout out in a later blog.  So here it is.

What can I say about the Cohort?  First of all, we first years have an awesome one.  Even the second years say so and that they are amazed by how well we all get along.  Which is true!  Despite our many varied personalities and backgrounds, we have gelled into a very cohesive unit that is ready to take the HR world by storm when we finish the program.  These are the people that we will be calling for jobs for ourselves one day, people who will be inundated by resumes from us that we’ve received from nephews, nieces, family friends, buddies and *gasp* perhaps our own children.  “Oh yeah, I know Eric Dosch, SVP of Organizational Change at Exxon.”  Or “Katie Eyre at Anheuser-Busch?  I can get your resume to her.”  “Jen Hunt at Abercrombie?  I’m having brunch with her this weekend.”

It is absolutely amazing what a group of differently-minded, but similarly goal-oriented people can do when we put our heads together.  We can put out papers and projects that amaze professors and colleagues.  We can break up the workload of our intense courses so we only feel like we’re taking a few crazy pills, and not the whole bottle.  We can make sense of the sometimes seemingly nonsensical information we are fed.

Despite this, it’s true, we don’t always get along.  Sometimes, we simply coexist.  We are able to take our different personalities and mindsets and exist in this bubble that usually consists of rooms 305 and 315 of Gerlach Hall.  Although some of us have yet to enter the professional workforce, everyone is learning to be a professional here and now.  We are learning to put aside what has happened in our day and work together and work things out and not let the bad mojo of our personal lives affect our interactions.  We are learning to coexist and cooperate on a level that is above pettiness and agendas and scheming.

Unfortunately, our not so little Cohort has been slightly fragmented this quarter by course selections.  Some people chose HRIS over HR Econ.  Some people chose T&D instead of Staffing.  And I’ll be the first to admit, but most certainly not the last, that it hurts.  We’ve grown so close over the last few quarters that at times, we have separation anxiety.  All of a sudden, that person who is great at managing teams isn’t available.  Or that amazing note taker is in a different elective.  We miss our friends and colleagues.

What do we do?  We make up for it!  There isn’t a weekend that goes by where there isn’t some sort of social event, official or not, that we can come together at.  Even though we spend a significant portion of our lives together, either in class, on Facebook or Twitter, we still want to see each other more.  We remove ourselves from the context of the program and we stop being colleagues and we find that we are amongst great friends that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

I’m getting schmaltzy, but I’ll go on.  This summer, we’ll all be embarking on an adventure and heading out to our respective summer internships.  They will be incredible experiences where we’ll learn much about ourselves and much about what we’ve learned as we apply the invaluable knowledge we have gained in the program thus far.  And for the most part, we’ll be going it alone.  Some people are leaving the area, some of us are staying, and some of us that are staying will have the opportunity to work together at the same company.  (That will be interesting.)  I’m actually hoping someone from Cardinal Health will be sent to the building on OCLC’s campus so they can see “work Wes”, because he is a very different creature than “school Wes” indeed.

But much like going on summer break during high school, we will come back with stories and pictures and memories and new skills.  And instead of staying resolutely our own, they’ll be poured into our collective consciousness and become something that all members of the Cohort can learn from and bask in and enjoy.  We are the Borg.

So, cheers to the Cohort.  To us, to fun, to work and to our future!

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