It’s hard to believe but this is my last Thanksgiving as a student. Reflecting back on my time here at Northwestern as well as my undergrad days at Stanford, it’s hard not to recall how many great classes, great job opportunities, interesting professors and best of all great classmates I’ve had along the way. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I’ve been to have the experience. And that leads me to what I’m most thankful for this year.
Ever since I started my blog (and graduate school) a few years ago, I’ve received quite a few emails from readers. Many of them wanted tips or advice for selecting programs. Others had specific admissions questions. Others were visiting campus and were looking for someone to speak to while they were here. And some simply wanted to say thanks for keeping up my site.
I read every one of those questions and did my best to respond to all of them, though admittedly I think I missed a few. In the course of all of this, I’ve come to find that there are a lot of people that want to go to business school and to law school, but that there are very few seats at these places. After all, there are only 230 seats at the law school and only 600 at Kellogg despite over 7,000 applications. More importantly, there are exponentially more people all over the US and world that want to go to great undergraduate universities, but a large majority will never have the opportunity to attend a 4-year university.
This has all come to an apex today, as education has become THE hot button issue, given the rise in education costs and decreasing number of jobs available given the economy. Even though this has have led critics to critique the value of education, I’ve learned firsthand that getting an education is still an incredibly powerful tool. A tool you can use to not only change your circumstances but also find the success that many of us were never raised to even dream about having.
More than 3 years later, after seeing all the opportunities I’ve had access to school, those words are even more true. And that leads me to a few of the things that I’m most thankful for this year:
I’m thankful for having the chance to get an education and the opportunity to be enrolled in a great graduate program today. This is especially true considering where everything started (Youngstown, OH), as my access and economic means were significantly limited. It was certainly not something that always seemed possible.
I’m also thankful for the opportunities I’ve had access to as a result of being in school. Great clubs, great organizations and great job opportunities. My goal is to continue to do what I can to help others from my community create those same opportunities.
I’m also thankful for my parents who supported me and pushed me along to pursue a better education. Sometimes it seemed hard but when I was young my parents made sure that I stayed on track. In large part, because they wanted me to achieve the things they never had the chance to.
I’m also thankful for my great classmates, many of whom are some of my best friends today. When you’re going through the fire in school, it’s always great to have classmates and friends you can count on and enjoy the experience with.
I’m also thankful for the JD-MBAs here in my program. Not only a really smart group but also a group where every one of us undergoes the same process. We have to take extra classes. We all have limited bidding points and multiple sets of emails to manage. We all have to move cities multiple times. And worst of all, we all have to get on the shuttle every day in the final year.
And finally, I’m thankful for the Internet, where we can I share this message with lots of people. Not only is the net revolutionizing modern communication but it’s also helping democratize access to information for those who need access the most.
In sum, I’m thankful for education. I don’t take it for granted, and you shouldn’t either. The jobs we have access to, earning potential we can achieve, and most importantly the role we have the opportunity to take on in society are all a privilege. So we should treat them as such. We should use them as a platform. A way to give back to those that helped us. And a way to improve access in our communities. For every person that got into a great school, there are tens of thousands in the US and millions other nations that would love to same chance. The chance to have our seat in school. To take the exam that we complained about afterward. To go to the classes we thought about skipping. So let’s show the world we are thankful and that we were the right people for the seats.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hopefully it’s filled with family, friends, and most of all with lots of “Thanks.”