I'll never forget my first steps on campus as I dragged my suitcases through the blizzard on one of the coldest days ever recorded. As I walked by the snow-covered Alma Matter and Low Memorial Library, I could barely feel my face but knew I was smiling and excited about what lay ahead: an MBA at Columbia Business School. 

Six months later, 8 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, I am now tanned, swamped with work (should spend less time in the sun), and waking up every morning buzzing with thoughts: Will I get a table at Watson? Who will I bump into in the lobby? How can I get involved to make this count? How can I test myself this week with group or individual work? How can I help my peers with their career search? Who will I learn from next? Which speakers are lined up? Is it going to be boxed lunches and pizza dinners all week again?! Am I going in the right direction? Will I lose at squash again? Who can I spend time with who I don’t usually see? Which advisor or coach will I see next? Who will I meet who happens to be a friend of a friend from home? What’s the Learning Team been up to? What will I open my eyes to next? Any funny memes on the cluster GroupMe? What new ventures are people working on? What club events are going on this week? Is LABA hosting a party? When will I start to focus? … and I haven’t even touched on New York City.

I barely look at a single thing the same way I did before. New dimensions are being added to everything in my day-to-day life. My decision making, thought process, and understanding are deeper yet clearer as a result of the core classes, electives, and learning environment. I have never experienced such added value in such little time. I can’t wait to see what the next two and a half semesters have to offer.

No two people will have the same CBS experience. You decide what you get out of it, and the path choices are endless. Find your passion, take ownership of the moment, learn to lead, and don't forget to focus. You can’t look at this like going back into a basic school education. You’re doing an MBA in New York City. There is so much out there in front of you and no one will be holding your hand, so you will have to make the tough decisions with use of the great support network at CBS. Here you will find lifelong friends, lifelong memories, and life-changing events in every way possible. Grab every moment with both hands, challenge yourself, tackle your fears, go in a new direction, make the first move, get ready to be awkward, get involved, give back, and make the most of every little step.