To Landover and Back Again

There are extraordinarily few reasons I would consider waking up before sunrise on a Friday morning — and yet, I found myself wiping sleep from my eyes as the sun rose over Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 7:45 on the morning of October 30. I welcomed the new day with a smile, tossed in my headphones, and quickly sunk into a power nap as the plane carried me and my Chapel Hill 2BOO Dream Team — myself, Halah Flynn, Jon Watkins, and Liz Shimkus — towards our final destination.

Our mission was clear: leave the comfort of Chapel Hill and travel in secrecy to the 2BOO celebration in 2U’s Landover, MD Headquarters. Alarms were set. Boarding passes were printed. Misleading, yet well-intentioned text messages regarding our Halloween plans were sent.

After landing at BWI and driving to the Courtyard Marriott — which, though derided by many, was like a palace to a college student recently divorced from dorm life — our intrepid team unpacked, quickly changed, and ventured across the street to the gigantic white tent blasting music.

Jon Watkins and Liz Shimkus as Landover, MD tourists

Our crew — Jon and Liz reprising their roles as tourists from our “Coming to Landover” music video for the Halloween costume competition, Halah and I teaming up as Calvin and Hobbes — stepped inside excitedly and were greeted by the most lively pre-noon party I’ve ever experienced. The majority of the costumes we saw would have won the average company’s Halloween contest; it became quickly apparent that the competition at the costume contest was going to be stiff.

Halah and I teaming up as Calvin and Hobbes at 2BOO

As Halah and I took our first lap around the tent, the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing anyone at a party came creeping across my conscience, but dissipated almost immediately. A huge perk of working at 2U is our level of connectedness. Though we’d met only a couple of 2Utes outside our office before Friday, Halah and I made quick friends with familiar names and faces from remote work (a special shout-out to Shayna Bulluck, Alicia Palmieri, Greg Mihailides, Ngunjiri Ngari, Sam Greenberg, and Jenna Gardiner for recognizing and approaching us!), and we were introduced to countless similarly hospitable 2Utes.

We took advantage of the food and picture booth while mingling with the costumed masses and explored the MetroPlex, briefly, but soon it was time for the video contest. Again, it would be a tight race for the top prize.

Chapel Hill had intentionally kept our presence a secret to complement our video submission, which featured our entire office boarding a van to Landover — as in the video, only Jon, Liz, Halah, and I completed the journey. As the credits rolled, we ran on stage to enthusiastic applause from the crowd, a banner declaring “Landover or Bust” in hand. If another shot at the prize wasn’t incentive enough to return next October, the welcome we received Friday afternoon would certainly suffice.

As the day wound down with a rambunctious karaoke session led with conviction by our fearless CEO, Captain Jack “Chip” Sparrow, he expressed his love and appreciation for the gathered employees, who returned the sentiment in kind. We left Maryland early Halloween morning, and I returned to work on Monday feeling energized and blessed to work at a place that motivates and challenges me, a place where I can also call my coworkers my friends. Truly, at 2U, can you even call it “work”?

2BOO! Happy Halloween from North Carolina!

Learn more about what it’s like to work at 2U, visit our careers page.

About Trevor Lenzmeier: Trevor is an Operations intern at 2U Chapel Hill and a sophomore studying journalism at the University of North Carolina. When he isn’t in class or at work, Trevor writes for UNC’s campus newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, serves as alumni and rush chair in Kappa Sigma fraternity, and takes as many road-trips as time and his wallet will allow.