My parents raised me to be a part of something bigger than myself. They taught me to look past what was comfortable for me, beneficial to me, or even fun for me. They taught me the value of pursuing your passions in a world that is so focused on only achieving financial success.

The lessons of passionate pursuit, authentic impact, and selfless service have shaped me into the man I am today. They have taught me that for me, my life is not only about myself, but about providing others with the tools and support they need so that they can be the best version of themselves. So, even though these values were instilled in me from a young age, I did not know what it meant to pursue my passions and live authentically until I stepped onto my undergraduate college campus at Texas A&M University.

What is so special about Texas A&M is not only the people but the values that each of those people embodies. At Texas A&M there are six core values: respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and selfless service. They are pervasive in the identity of every Aggie past, present, and future, but what’s so beautiful about each of those values is they are not exclusive to Texas A&M. I believe they are ever-present in the world around us, but it takes a special place to uncover them, develop them and empower people to live them.

That place is Fuqua. There is this passion for ethics, diversity, lending a hand, building community and so many other wonderful virtues that you can feel permeating the very air in the hallways. You can see respect in the way groups collaborate on assignments or laugh in the cafeteria. You can see the value that is placed on community and selfless service when there is a fellow classmate always willing to give you a ride to class or answer a question about a deadline. These values are not exclusive to my experience. They are spreading like wildfire throughout the world and that is because institutions like Texas A&M and Duke are empowering students to live these values, but even more so, students are choosing to live them out in a world that is constantly telling us to compromise our values.

So, if you asked me before coming to Duke why I wanted to be here, I would have said “this would be an experience unlike any other I have ever had. It would be a completely new environment not only geographically, but academically and socially as well and it could be an interesting challenge.” But after four months here, I would say that I am so glad I chose to be here because Fuqua is truly a place that is empowering others to be selfless leaders desiring to make an authentic impact in the world around them. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.