Erik is a first year MBA student, focusing on Marketing and Business Analytics. He spent the past five years working at Walgreens as an assistant manager where he developed an interest in non-profit leadership while leading teams to raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Central California. As the president of Challenge for Charity at UC Davis, he enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, giving back to the community while also being active and outdoors.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a respite to Yosemite National Park with a few of my classmates for a day hike. We started our outing at 4 in the morning; a journey in the dark. Our goal was the top of Nevada Fall, a seven mile hike with some intense sections of elevation gain. Getting there and back again turned into an all-day affair. We returned to Sacramento ragged, worn, and exhausted. We wore the dirt and sweat from the trail, but also smiles. It was not until sometime later, reflecting upon our journey, when it occurred to me that the hike that day was analogous to the first year of my MBA experience at UC Davis.
It takes preparation and work just to get to the start of your journey. Then the real work begins. My first year as an MBA student has been an uphill struggle where the path has not always been clear. But I never had to struggle alone. The new friends I have made at the GSM have stuck together, supported each other, and taken turns leading the way to ensure we accomplish our goals. The intense focus needed to keep moving upward while maintaining one’s breath is punctuated by the type of engaging conversation that shape the foundation of life-long relationships.
So if you are considering taking on a challenging journey, be it B-school or a hike, remind yourself of the following. You will be challenged and you will be tired. There will be times when your physical, mental and emotional limits are tested. But there will also be amazing food, and drinks, and friends. And at every landmark not only can you look back and see just how far you have come, but you can also look ahead to the next challenge, knowing that every bit of the struggle will be worth it. Finally, remind yourself to take a few pictures along the way, because it really is a beautiful time in your life.