I was not the traditional Oberlin College student. I was married when I arrived and by the time I graduated I had two little boys. I played two sports, had several jobs, and was involved in a variety of community projects. All of this while trying to be the best student that I could be. Although Oberlin challenged me in a myriad ways, I am constantly reminded of the value and memories during my time in Northeast Ohio.
Recently I have embarked on a few different professional adventures. I have applied and been accepted to a few different graduate schools, started a couple of businesses, and am constantly trying to be proactive and innovative. Much of my success (and potential for success) I owe to the Oberlin slogan: “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” Before I got to Oberlin I really did not grasp the truth of that statement. However, after graduating, I have seen the opportunities become endless.
Just a few weeks ago, I interviewed for a job at the Wharton School of Business. The job would help to supplement my graduate school stipend and provide me with opportunities to network with some of the brightest and most successful individuals in business and education. The first thing the interviewer said to me was, “You are an Oberlin grad. I know that you would be great at this job!” That statement alone set the tone for a fantastic interview which eventually resulted in me getting the job. I have experienced this response many times since I graduated, and know there will be many similar situations in my future.
Oberlin has left me with many memories and experiences, but it is the people that have meant the most to me. My coaches were close friends and mentors, my professors would do anything for me, and the administration proved to be some of the most influential individuals in my life. Let me share with you one example:
I spent many years grappling with what type of profession I wanted to pursue in my life. I considered medicine, legal work, and many other paths. But one thing always remained the same: my passion for helping others reach their full potential.
Education was the one option that solely focused on this goal. I wanted to be involved with students as they strive to be successful in life, and do whatever I could to help. I had spent some time with the president of the previous institution that I had attended. I saw his involvement with colleagues, students, academics, and athletics. I realized then that I wanted to be in higher education administration, ultimately a college president. With this goal in mind, I made an appointment to see the new president of Oberlin, Marvin Krislov. His exceptional background and passion for success made me want to get to know him and hopefully have the opportunity to learn from him. I soon had the chance to sit down with President Krislov and discuss my background and future goals. After listening and offering some very valuable advice, he looked at me and said, “How would you like to work for me next semester?”
This offer came as a wonderful surprise. His willingness to allow me to work with him and see the world of an institutional president was invaluable. I was able to see first-hand what it takes to be a successful individual and president. His ability to work with people, teach students, and manage a variety of projects was simply amazing. He put so much effort and passion into what he did for the sake of the institution and the many people who were associated with it - faculty, staff, and students alike. I will forever be indebted to President Krislov for the experience I gained and the relationships I was able to build with him and his staff.
As I said before, I will never forget the memories and experiences that I had while at Oberlin: the classes, the games, and everything I learned. But it is the relationships I gained that have had — and will have — the greatest impact on my life. Thanks to those people, I am a better student, professional, and person than I was before. Thank you.