The Seeking of Satisfaction
Written by Engel Yue.
There are pros and cons with everything, even the Berkeley-Haas Global Management Program. Some of the best perks include: being immediately placed into the business administration major without having to go through the typical application process, forming tight connections among our cohort, and having special GMP specific classes. There is also something pretty special about studying abroad in London during our very first fall semester.
Needless to say, there’s no such thing as a perfect program, and GMP has plenty of room for improvement.
Since this is the first year of the GMP program, there was a lot to figure out in the beginning. At first, I didn’t really understand what my purpose was in the GMP program and because Berkeley-Haas is such a large school with extremely passionate and driven people, it is easy to feel lost among the opportunities. Although I believed in the program’s vision of shaping future business leaders with a mind for global perspectives, often times, I still found myself asking: What am I really doing here?
Beyond GMP, I also found myself frustrated with UC Berkeley in general.
Take Berkeley housing for example. Because I had my own room at home, sharing rooms, bathrooms, and living styles was a new and foreign system for me. Also, on-campus housing isn’t guaranteed, and rent prices here are pretty high in relations to other UCs both on and off-campus. My heart breaks a little when I hear of UC Santa Barbara students paying just $700/month for a similar room with a bonus ocean view!
Also, the dining hall food is pretty mediocre, but at least there’s unlimited soft-serve and a never-ending salad bar. Plus, I hear Pat Brown’s is pretty good.
Academically, Berkeley and Berkeley-Haas is filled with top students, and I find myself competing amongst the best. In a sense, Cal becomes a double-edged sword because I’m always pushing myself to improve, but oftentimes, doing so creates a high intensity environment. Because of this, I find myself asking: Was Berkeley Haas worth it? Is all of this worth it?
I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Nonetheless, somehow, the answer to this question always comes back to a plain and simple “yes.”
But how can I be satisfied in a school that seems so unsatisfactory?
Two years ago, my high school AP Language and Composition teacher asked us to rank several characteristics based on their prioritization in our lives. Among the categories presented, there were those to be expected – “money,” “health,” “happiness.” Then there were harder terms to classify. How does one prioritize “satisfaction”?
I recall this lesson in particular because it was after this day that I recognized the enigma that lay in prioritizing satisfaction. First off, it’s impossible to be satisfied by the world. But, for this exact reason, we should pursue fervently and passionately after it. To pursue satisfaction means that you’ll never be satisfied because nothing is ever enough. Satisfaction is not a ceiling, a cap, or a limitation; satisfaction is intangible and unattainable. It is a journey, infinitely long and tedious.
By constantly striving for satisfaction, I am constantly pushing boundaries, never content with what I have, and am always seeking to do better, be better, want better. In a sense, chasing satisfaction brings about personal growth, and even more importantly, communal improvement.
You see, though I myself still constantly wrestle with my decision of choosing UC Berkeley and GMP, in the last 10 months that I’ve been associated with the school, I have witnessed tremendous self-improvement in both my personal path as well as in those around me. Yes, classes here are tough, but that doesn’t make them impossible. We all struggle together, sharing in knowledge, history, and dreams, working through difficulties in order to understand them, not simply overcome.
Sure, housing and food could always be better, but that’s all the more reason to appreciate home when you return. I know I do!
As for GMP, we still haven’t been given clear objectives, but perhaps it is a gift unto itself. Because GMP isn’t defined to a tee, we get the liberty of pursuing whatever we want, however we want.
In fact, just today I was at a meeting where several of us GMP ‘22s met up to decide how to provide information to the incoming class at Cal Day. Discussions, like those in our classes, are mostly student-led and advanced by student ideas. In addition to a simple Cal Day meeting, there’s so much more in the works that my peers and I have pitched and planned for, and our GMP/Haas advisors have welcomed it all with open arms.
So, when people ask me about GMP, I won’t lie. I’ll speak the truth and let them decide for themselves whether or not they want to be content on a different path or seek to satisfy the impossible and take the risk and adventure that is Berkeley-Haas.