My First Semester Renaissance

My path to graduate school has been unconventional.  With a long standing indifference at best to school, the last thing I thought I would be doing my senior year was writing an application.  However, as I pack for my upcoming trip abroad I can’t help but recall the beginning and the experiences I’ve been afforded since entering this program; the deeply hidden interests and abilities that had been pulled from my subconscious.

I started out as a weird hodgepodge of interests, majors, and minors.  I had heavily studied in Physical Anthropology, Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, and Italian and while I had excelled in certain aspects, there always was a lack of interest in the readings, attending class, or even in my classmates.  I hadn’t considered even applying until I talked to one of my sorority sisters already in the MMG program.  When she talked about the program, her usual vibrant energy seemed to double and a brightness seemed to persist.  She encouraged me to apply and to pursue a dream that I had buried years before.

I had been a Martial Artist for years with dreams of turning Professional.  Upon talking with her I realised that with the right people and the right knowledge, this dream would not be as far fetched as it had once seemed.  I quickly started writing my application and within a few weeks, I was beginning my journey.

Hannah Kaufman (right) asking a question at the rail wheel factory in Bangalore
Hannah Kaufman (right) asking a question at the rail wheel factory in Bangalore

I had never received such specialised attention and care when speaking of something that others often would have scoffed at.  In my first few semesters I learned the art of public speaking, how to pitch myself, and ultimately how I wanted to market myself.  Suddenly a new drive had kicked in.  I wanted to do better, to be better, and so I was.  I learned how to view financials and developed an interest in reading annual reports and business news.  I suddenly wanted to know everything and my desire to explain the world came back, but this time, it was simple.

With this understanding came the need to lead and this program encouraged it.  This unique feature has seemingly propelled all of my fellow classmates as well.  We competed and worked to lead each other, not to outdo one another, but to create the best work we could.  Even through long meetings in the breakout rooms we always came out with a solution; either to market a winter coat or how to better approach and control for external situations within a company.  We learned to lead by example and how to lead in the job market with structured resumes and perfected interview responses.

Above all though, we learned within an environment that, at its very nature, was essential to learning.  We had structured classes with the same cohort.  Something that I treasured in my first semester.  I suddenly knew my classmates, and moreover, cared about my classmates.  I wasn’t just going to class for learning anymore, I went to see them, to learn from them, and to see the world how they saw it.

As I pack I am filled with excitement for my trip to India.  Filled with anticipation for what we can learn from what the school will tell us, and from what we will tell to each other.

Hannah Kaufman