Learning Life Lessons Outside the Classroom
Elena Ruan '14 / Woodbridge, Connecticut
“In high school, the people who did well academically were the definition of success. But, students I met on my first visit to Babson showed me that success is defined by so many other factors than just what school you’re accepted into.
“I’m a compilation of all the people I’ve met at Babson.”
“The most important thing I have learned at Babson is appreciating differences. On-campus organizations have allowed me to meet people I would have never met in any other context at any other school. I’ve met so many different people, including athletes, Greek life members, and international students as treasurer of Hillel, a member and former VP of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Peer Career Ambassador, former Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship mentor, a Weissman Scholar, and three-time peer mentor.
“I’m a compilation of all the people I’ve met at Babson: friends who have taught me loyalty; professors who have taught me to question everything I think is normal; Hillel, which has taught me that religion and spirituality are all about personal meaning; Kappa Kappa Gamma, which has taught me what sisterhood means; and peer mentors who have taught me that friendship can come in all shapes and sizes. I would not have made it this far without these people. So, for me, my success at Babson is defined by these relationships.
“I’ve also had the chance to travel to London, Thailand, and Ghana where I studied, learned Muay Thai, and taught entrepreneurship (I'll let you guess where I did each of these). Through all of the excitement, I’ve realized traveling abroad is partially about having a great adventure, but mostly about learning how to learn about other cultures. Understanding how that process works has helped me connect with students of different backgrounds.
“Because of my experiences, my ultimate goal is to change people’s perceptions. I want to be part of the movement that eliminates societal prejudices and constructs that create inequalities in employment opportunity, access to healthcare, and other basic human rights. When I retire, I want to be able to say that I woke up every single day and made a positive change in someone’s life.”