Peer Pressure Made Me Do It

Taylor Graham
Major: Advertising and Promotion
Business and Culture in the Dominican Republic
Summer I, 2017

I am a mere three days away from embarking on the adventure of a lifetime in the Dominican Republic. As I sit in my room with clothes, shoes, toiletries, and important documents scattered everywhere, I can’t help but think of the six wonderful people that pushed me to take the jump and study abroad.

Studying abroad has always been an idea in the back of my head since I was first touring colleges. I knew it was something I was interested in, but I was not sure what program would be right for me and I did not know how to go about financing it. Because of this, studying abroad just remained something I was intrigued by. I came into Western Michigan University knowing I wanted to major in advertising, so I was put in contact with Dr. Karen Lancendorfer. We talked about all things advertising which included the courses I would be taking, AdClub, and the short-term study abroad program that she led. I was elated when I heard about her program because I knew it would be the perfect fit for me. She encouraged me to apply during my freshman year so I did, but I ended up withdrawing my application right before winter break of 2015 because I let my uncertainty get the best of me. I still had my doubts and wanted more time to figure out the financial aspect of studying abroad. So I went on winter break and came back ready to start spring semester with a clear head.

I decided I wanted to be more involved on campus during second semester, so I let my friend Meriah Putnam drag me to a meeting with a new club on campus. I am so glad she forced me to go because that is when studying abroad became a reality for me. The Global Business Students Association (GBSA) is a club on campus that focuses on taking people who are interested in studying abroad and connects them with students who have studied abroad. I got to listen to numerous presentations from students and faculty members who had gone abroad. I got to share all of my doubts and excitement about studying abroad. The members of this club answered every question I had honestly and really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. To my peers Emma Stuba, Erin Sionkowski, Chloe Childs, Connery Otto, and Phil McCauley, you guys are the reason I am studying abroad. Your experiences and passion for adventure are what have inspired me to just go for it.

Dr. Lancendorfer encouraged me to step up to the edge and the GBSA members are the ones who encouraged me to jump. The best part about all of this is that I get to go explore the world with Meriah Putnam, who is the reason I met the five GBSA members in the first place. I only have three more days until I board my plane and this time I can confidently say I am not looking back.

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