The View from Beyond Denison
Global Commerce alumnus Khalig Howard ‘19 is with Foreign Direct Investment at Invest Northern Ireland in San Francisco. He shares a letter with Global Commerce majors, and especially the Class of 2020.
First and foremost, to the class of 2020: I am sorry that the end to your Denison story isn’t on your own terms. So much of the college experience centers around the convergence of your peers and teachers, who together, help navigate you through what is undoubtedly a very critical time in your life.
With that being said - when the dust settles - what a crazy story you all will have to tell! I have no doubt this experience is going to help you to become even stronger and more empathetic business leaders and human beings in the future.
I’ve blinked and it’s almost been a year now since graduation last May. If someone had told me 12 months ago that the world would be struggling with a global pandemic that perhaps came from a bat (or pangolin??) and would dramatically alter all of our lives and potentially the future of geopolitical relations, I would’ve turned the other way, and tried to find someone less crazy to chat with.
The transition from college life into young adulthood can be daunting. There are obvious struggles like putting together your first bed, managing finances, or realizing the majority of your Monday - Friday is now spent staring at a monitor (with no nap times).
But there are also so many great and exciting moments (some pictured below) like moving into your first apartment, earning your first paycheck, meeting new people and getting to know a new city. And the best part about being so young is that we have ample time yet to learn and discover who we are, what we are interested in, and the type of people and personalities we want to surround ourselves with.
The fact of the matter is that things in life are super cyclical, have been super cyclical, and will be super cyclical. We can’t change this. Part of growing up is recognizing you have to balance all the highs and lows of life that come your way, all the while doing your best to keep a smile on your face (and it is OK some days if you can’t).
For those of you who are still Denison students: stay focused on asking the hard questions and making connections. There will be so much to take a deep dive into on the backend of this pandemic: the potential (likely?) decoupling of the US and China, the obvious systematic and infrastructural inequalities both regionally and socio-economically in our country, and the debate of whether bulge-brackets were better positioned for this downturn vs. the 2008 crisis.
Take advantage of all your smart peers and challenge the beliefs and truths you hold. Know that your opinion matters and it is so, so important to share it.
What is certain is that everyone’s path will be different, but based on my own experience, it’s important to know and remember that you should try your best to be kind to your co-workers, your roommates, your friends, your family, and yourself. Some days this is easier said than done, but a whole world of opportunity can come your way through being kind and showing people all the good in you.
Khalig Howard ‘19