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It is astonishing what you can be involved with as a Joint Venture at Kellogg. You can participate in as much as you want to in the Kellogg community.

Here is a brief post about my involvement, which I have to say has been very difficult to summarize in so few words.

Our preparation for Kellogg was perhaps not as jarring as it had been for the students and JVs who relocated to Evanston. I am a Chicago-area native, and had in fact lived in Evanston for about eight years leading up to my girlfriend’s decision to attend Kellogg.

She moved to my place, which, while still a move, is not exactly like relocating from an entirely different locale. Nonetheless, I’ve found being a part of Kellogg as transformative an experience as if I had picked up and left someplace else. The lens through which I viewed my home shifted, and I began to see it through the eyes of our classmates and their partners.

KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips) was our first real exposure to how different things were going to be. It was this adventure that made me decide I was going to go all in for the Kellogg experience. Another JV and my friend, Hanna, mentioned the virtues of the format of the trip, and you should read her blog post to understand how it involves everyone, be they student or JV.

If you are an incoming student or JV and have the option to go on KWEST, go. If you are debating whether it’s worth the money, yes it is, without a doubt. I can tell you that I will remember and cherish these friends long after the caps and gowns have been mothballed. It is my honor and privilege to know them, and they inspire me to be a better person, to achieve and to dream bigger than I would on my own.

After our transformative trip, everything was a whirlwind.

Having a flexible schedule allowed me to jump in and participate in almost all I wanted to get involved with. I say “almost” because there were activities that would sometimes conflict with other goings on. I went to JV events during CIM (Complete Immersion in Management – the new student week) and got to know my cohorts. We saw the Special K! Fall Show. We went to section mixers, club fairs, costume parties, tennis, BBQs, volleyball, formal balls, movie nights, KWEST parties … the list is extensive. I even found myself learning how to make sushi from the Japanese JVs (yum!).

I went to just about everything I could, and it was as thrilling and stimulating as could be to do this with new friends with all different backgrounds and experiences.

Toward the beginning of the second year I began to work regular hours. I did what I could to stay involved, and despite a dwindling availability have been able to maintain a ridiculously packed schedule.

Part of that was due to my decision to audit more classes.

Part of that was because I joined the Captains of Industry, one of the Kellogg bands.

Photo by Spencer Liu
Photo by Spencer Liu

It was not unusual for me to leave for work at 8 a.m. and come back from class and rehearsal at 1 a.m. (or later) in the fall quarter. I also managed to find time to help out with the Special K! Fall Show.

Students began to comment that they’d see me at the Jake (Kellogg’s Jacobs Center) more than they would see my student. She joked that I had become more of a student than she was.

It was exhausting. I loved it, but it was ultimately unsustainable.

As a JV, you can be so involved with just about everything at Kellogg. You will never want for things to do. I just needed to define my limits. One quarter with that packed schedule was fine. Two or more, and I would be missing out on what I feel is the most important part of Kellogg: the friendships I have made.

I found more balance by dropping my class audits from three in the fall to one over winter. It was the right thing to do, and now I can really feel the clock winding down on our time at Kellogg. It is bittersweet to know that in a few weeks we will be among the school’s graduates. While we can see the coming change, it is comforting to know that as far as our friends and us will travel, our bonds will persist.

If you are a JV debating whether this is the place for you, I can tell you that I could not imagine a program that will allow you to be more involved than you can be at Kellogg.

How much is up to you.

Richard Sandrok is a JV of a second-year student. He welcomes any questions you may have and can be reached by his first name [dot] last name at Gmail.