Ah yes, College! So, I left off in my bio just as I found myself entering Fresno State. I mentioned I was granted a business scholarship and was a member of the Craig Business Scholars. I believe this is where I will pick up my story.
Chapter 2: Pre-International College Experience…yeah, that works
Ok, so I decided to really devote myself to the Craig Scholars and immediately got involved. I participated in just about every community service event that came our way including Adopt-A-Highway, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity. I was having such a great time with the other Scholars and felt it only fitting that I step up and be a leader in the group. Once I decided to do this, I ran for Treasurer for my sophomore year and landed the gig. Sophomore year came, I did a lot of the same and decided come the end of the year I would run for Vice President for my junior year. I was elected, again, and just as my junior year got under way things began to change, and little did I know I was on the verge of making one of the biggest and best decisions of my life.
You see, I came into college with this plan. My plan was to get involved, get good grades, graduate, and get a good job. My plan was working fine and things were well on course. Come my junior year, I was eligible to apply for an Honors program within the business school that would allow me to work closely with a faculty mentor and write a thesis. This, to me, seemed a natural road to take. After all, I had a 4.0 GPA, was involved heavily with community service, knew the faculty well, and was confident I would be accepted into the program. That was about as much convincing as I needed, so I began filling out the application.
It was an involved application (or at least I thought so at the time…now I really know what an “involved” application is) and somewhere in the middle of working on it I began to feel uneasy. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something just didn’t seem right. My “plan” was just working too smoothly – things were falling into place, opportunity was abound, my path seemed nicely paved and very straight…a little too straight, I decided. I don’t know quite what it was, but I had just about completed the application when I decided, “Meh, sucks to this!”
Now, don’t get me wrong, this Honors program offered an incredible opportunity for me to really add to my academic experience and further establish myself as a “smarty pants,” but I came to question, why? Why do I want to add additional stress to my senior year of college, just before I plan to face the stresses of the real world? To further prove that I’m a reasonably intelligent guy? I just couldn’t bring myself to justify it, and that is when the wheels began to turn. I remember thinking to myself, “What could I possibly do to bring a little excitement to my life? What opportunities are out there for me to really mix things up and truly differentiate myself from my peers?” It didn’t take long before the light bulb flickered and I had a flashback.
I was brought back to my first semester when I was but a wee freshman in a strange, large auditorium packed with would-be business majors. It was there that I heard a presentation on all the great things the business school has to offer. One presenter in particular I remember quite well. He was an alumni who was invited to speak to us about his wonderful experience he had when he chose to spend a semester abroad in Sweden. His story was great, but I never really gave it much consideration after that because I always figured it would be a far too expensive experience. Despite the potential expense, I began now to reconsider.
I didn’t really tell anyone about my idea. I had this desire to shock and surprise everyone as I proclaimed “Haha! I’m not who you thought I was! You see, I too am capable of being a little crazy and spontaneous!” What I did was schedule a meeting with the Director of the International Business Programs at the Craig School to discuss my options. The Director’s name is Dr. Peyvandi and I still keep in touch with him to this day. His enthusiasm for international business was almost overwhelming! He was so excited to meet me and learn of my interest in studying abroad. After discussing my situation and reviewing my options, I decided I wanted to follow through with my decision to pursue an international exchange.
I chose Sweden as my destination, Jönköping, to be exact, at the advice of Dr. Peyvandi. His rationale was that the school, JIBS (Jönköping International Business School) was one of the most academically challenging universities we had an exchange agreement with and would likely suit me best. I knew very little (ie, nothing) about Sweden, so I figured this would prove to be just the adventure I was looking for. I had no idea just how right I was and shortly after this meeting I was accepted into the exchange program and the following few months were a blur. I had very little time to get my passport, get my visa, and get my things in an order satisfactory enough for me to leave the continent for what was initially expected to be about six months. It would later prove to be a longer stay, but I suppose I can delve into that deeper in my next, and hopefully final addition to my biography. Until then, Hej då!
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – Anonymous