I ran up the stairs of my porch on a chilly fall day, throwing down my backpack and pulling out my water bottle as I slumped into a rocking chair. The red and yellow leaves gently falling as groups of students wearing Georgia and UGA t-shirts walked past the picket fence down the street towards the running track. I kicked off my shoes and propped my bare feet up on the table across from me as I sank down further into the old, cushioned chair. I closed my eyes and tried to think. I had a decision to make about where I was going to apply to graduate school and I was confused. I knew I wanted to get a one-year degree in business. I knew I wanted to use that to go into advertising or marketing, but I didn’t know where to go. There are lots of great schools with great programs, I thought to myself, how am I going to pick one?
When I was a 17-year-old senior at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, I made my college decision based on two criteria. Most importantly, I wanted to receive the best possible education I could, but I also wanted to prolong my athletic career. Williams College, a small liberal arts school conveniently tucked away deep in the Berkshire Mountains, was the school that fit the bill. The million-dollar questions that people constantly asked me were, “Why Williams?” and “What do you want to do after school?” Well, to be honest, I had no clue what I wanted to do after school, and since Williams didn’t offer an undergraduate business program I just decided I was going to play it by ear.
The transition from the north to the “south” has been quite interesting. I know Charlottesville is not technically the south, but it felt a bit that way coming from Michigan. Being raised in Michigan, there are certain experiences that are typical of the great lake state, like spending my summers on a lake, or in a cornfield for a ultimate frisbee tournament. I went to Michigan State University for my undergrad and absolutely loved it. There are very few things that compare to being a Spartan. Between game days, the Izzone, Red Cedar river, Pinball Pete’s, and the MSU’s love of trees, there was never a boring moment. Fun fact: You can get a misdemeanor for hammocking on campus because the entire campus is an arboretum.
I came to UVA not just for the change of scenery, but for a degree that would make me more well-rounded.
During my senior fall at Boston College, I underwent a little bit of an identity crisis. See, I’m the youngest in an entire of family doctors. Apart from my older brother (an investment banker), nearly everyone from my father, aunts, uncles, and even a few cousins, are either practicing physicians or current medical students. Up until November 2016, my life’s dream was to be the next in the family to wear a white coat. I didn’t mind the weekend nights I spent studying while my roommates all went off-campus (shout out 315 Foster) or to MA’s, it was all part of the sacrifice to eventually receive my MD. But as I thought about it more and more, I realized that a career as a physician would position me to make an impact at the micro-level operating on patients, however, would not allow me to tackle the macro-level healthcare problems I had become introduced to during my internships.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!” –Theodor Seuss Geisel
I will always be a Tar Heel, but now, I am also incredibly fortunate and proud to be a Virginia Cavalier. I’ve had the best of both worlds and five great seasons of basketball. The M.S. in Commerce program at UVA has allowed me to transition from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Charlottesville, Virginia with ease, and I’m loving every minute of it.
When I decided to attend the M.S. in Commerce, I heard that Blue Devils were not exactly welcome in Charlottesville. I came down here with a slight sense of apprehension as I packed my Blue Devil apparel a little further down in my bags and waited a few days to bring it out. While UVA may not be the first school I root for in basketball (all right, it has become the SECOND), there are many other things about this place that has made my year amazing so far.
The summer after my sophomore year at Rice University, I did research on a math topic called Transportation Theory. Basically what I learned was that I didn’t want to study math the rest of my life. Being halfway through college and having not taken many relevant courses outside my concentration, I didn’t have an option to switch majors, so instead I finished out the math major and supplemented it with some business and statistics classes.
During my four years at Texas Christian University I cherished every moment as a Horned Frog. It went by way too fast, and soon enough I was trying to decide what to pursue after graduation. When looking for jobs, I realized my lack in basic business knowledge was glaringly lacking, and as an Economics major, I recognized the technical side of how business operates, but I did not understand the practical art of conducting business.