I remember the first time I saw the video made by Wharton welcome committee. It was right after I got an email explaining to me that I got into Wharton, and I was not answering my phone. I was tremendously excited to attend my dream school.
The past two years have been amazing and will forever mark my life. I moved to the U.S. when I was 17 from Tijuana, Mexico, a city plagued with violence, kidnap and murder, when my family was affected by the aforementioned crimes. I look at my life today, and it is hard to believe that I will meet one of my favorite investors at his office, Bill Ackman, next week. This is one of the countless doors that Wharton opens (make sure to donate at least $20 to the class pledge).
But there is more to Wharton than the opportunities and connections it provides. Every single day I am amazed at the brilliance of the class. The wealth and diversity of knowledge and talent is outstanding. And I ask myself if I will ever be surrounded by a group similar to here. I don’t think so.
However, I do feel there is something missing. Yesterday as I walked towards the Bloomberg terminals in Lippincott, I saw undergrads passionately protesting against Canada Goose’s use of geese feathers. What struck me was their undeterred passion. I ask myself where we lost that passion. The truth is we are not great partiers, nor are we the best dancers, and clearly we are also not the best-looking models — yet these seems to be some of the top interests of the school — at least, on a surface level. However, these may not be the best use of our talents.
We are in the midst of states passing legislation that will discriminate against many of our close friends. We are seeing racial tensions in this country at their peaks since segregation, where clearly there is prejudice instead of constructive communication. We are not only seeing income inequality, but worse — education inequality in this country, which not only furthers income inequality, but denies a basic right to prosperity in this country. We even have students whose country of origin is at war with each other. We usually do not talk about these issues. We play it safe. I know that all these topics are complex. But if it is not for us to learn, discuss and debate, then who will?
Of course, I know these conversations take place at a more intimate level as I do with some of my close friends at our dinners which we call “steak night”. During these dinners we discuss dreams, ambitions, politics, and many other business and world events at some of Philadelphia’s finest steak houses. We rotate steak houses and have a fantastic time. I hope a current first-year picks up this tradition. Steak nights are really some of my top memories at Wharton.
With one month left at Wharton, I realize that many more people enjoy a smaller setting and talking more about “real” things, as opposed to the big dress up parties, which sometimes seems more like a cult. I realize that I haven’t interacted with many other cultures since the culture clubs are really strong, but unfortunately it makes it harder to socialize outside the club. I’m also saddened by the fact that I did not develop strong relationships with many of my classmates during these two years, believing that we have much in common. That’s part of being in a big school and being busy. I hope I can get to know many of you and become friends after school.
For the incoming first years, I highly recommend you to dare a little more. Make stuff happen. This is your Wharton. You are Wharton. Don’t be safe. Dare. Dare to reach out and make the change you want to see. Dare to raise concerns and to share your opinions. Dare to make friends outside your cultural group. Dare to go out and find your dream job. Dare to potentially fail and have to deal with getting up again. Dare to put yourself out there. Dare to change Wharton. We are Wharton.
Less neon, more action. Here we go.
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