It has been a little over a week since I took the last final and left State College for a much needed break. Since then I have had a chance to reflect on my first semester at Smeal, and I still cannot get over the fact that so much happened in such a little time. Like one of my classmates said to me last mod, “a week in the MBA program is like a month outside of it”. So it’s no surprise to me that I feel like the last Semester was a year, with Mod 1 marking the first 6 months and Mod II the last six. As a class I feel like we have come a long way together since the first day of orientation. I have gotten to know some of my classmates on levels that I wouldn’t have thought possible when we first met in August. We have all had different trials and shared various successes with our respective teams. I believe I have already formed some of the proverbial friendships that will last way after Smeal and look forward to forming more of these friendships in the coming semesters.
As I sit at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany writing this, I keep on replaying some of the “highlight reel moments” from last Semester in my head; I remember our first meeting in the Business building atrium with 103 of my new best friends for the next two years. I remember getting that darn lion tail for talking after the bell… haha …I remember my first white out game against Illinois. I remember being excited when it occurred to me that no matter what topic or hobby I was interested in, there was someone in the first or second year class who could tell me everything I ever wanted to know and was willing to take the time to do so. I remember experiencing a historic US election, which was especially special for me since it was the first time I was able to vote in as a naturalized citizen. I remember losing the election I ran in to be the VP of Recruitment and being disappointed at myself. I also remember how gracious my opponent Dave Hoover was afterward and promising to help him in any way he needed. I remember taking a trip to NYC for the Wall Street initiative and being in awe of how much work Alum David Polansky did to make sure we got a good idea of different career paths on Wall Street. As I remember these things it’s dawning on me that it’s true what they say about a lot of your memories from Smeal happening outside of the classroom.
Having traveled to London and now to Berlin since I left, I keep on being pleasantly surprised at myself when I observe things and think about concepts from classes that I took just a couple of months and weeks ago. I also am surprised that I seem to remember concepts from classes I thought I struggled in. It’s obvious to me that I have learned even more than I realized, something you lose sight of in the middle of the semester when you feel like you are just trying to make it through the next team project or the next midterm.
All in all the first semester at Smeal for me has been as much a challenging experience as it has been a pleasant one. So as much as I am intrigued to see what the next semester offers I am enjoying the moment and relishing the opportunity to travel; who knows the next time I will get a month off from school and work again ever… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all !!!!!!
Hector Tantoh, Class of 2010