I am honored to be a student blogger this year, and I am both excited and a bit anxious. I have been a non-traditional, part-time student at MC since spring 2012. I hope my unique background and outlook will translate into some interesting reading.
What about me is "non-traditional?" First, at 36, I am older than most students. Put it this way: I had an Atari 2600 as a kid, used a typewriter through high school, bought my first cell phone at 24, and opened my Facebook account at 31. I have all the modern gadgets now, including a PS3 – and of course get utterly dominated by eight year-olds when I play online.
Perhaps most odd is that I am already a college graduate. I received an engineering degree from the Air Force Academy in 1998 and spent fourteen years in the military. I deployed six times for three wars: Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I lived in Germany and Korea for five years, and I have visited 34 countries. Another career highlight was graduating from the Air Force’s "Top Gun" program, which is the second most valuable learning experience in my life. There are many pros and cons about the military, but overall I gained from the experience.
Many of you are probably thinking, "Why are you a student at MC? And what about the best learning experience?" I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer three years ago. It has been a curse, but equally a lesson. In addition to fearing death, I was deemed medically unfit and retired early. I did not know what to do with my life, but to survive I needed goals to motivate me through grueling treatments. I decided to attend business school after cancer. Unfortunately, I had been away from academics for years, I knew little about business, and my undergrad GPA was the laughing stock of MBA admissions officers. Enter MC. I have been taking business relevant courses and through them have refined my goals to working in international development and economics. Thanks to MC, I will be competitive and ready for grad school when I eventually beat cancer. Most importantly, classes have kept me busy and looking forward during treatment. On a positive note, the blessings of cancer are the deep self-reflection, spiritual growth, enlightened worldview, and humility it has forced upon me. My intent is not to write a cancer blog, but expect some commentary from behind the cancer-tinted glasses.
Finally, my life is very multicultural. Beyond my many travels, I have immigrant parents from Cuba and India, which made for an interesting childhood. My fiancé is Hungarian and is also a student at MC. At the risk of bodily harm, I will try to share some of her experiences as an older ESL student as well. Enjoy the blog and feel free to ask about anything – returning to school as an older student, a military career, engineering majors, business school applications, cultural experiences, or cancer.
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