If you had asked anyone who knew me in high school what I would major in, they would have told you political science. That, or women’s studies. I was (and still am) aggressively liberal, outspokenly feminist and always ready to debate with my classmates and teachers. I was confident, loud and transparent.

But when I got to college, something shifted. I was still energetic with my friend group, and I still posted all my political beliefs on social media, but I found myself withdrawing in the classroom. I participated, but by second semester, I rarely said anything particularly opinionated, and I usually diluted my beliefs in order to seem normal. All my public speaking skills seemed to vanish, and during group projects, I let others take leadership roles that I once would have thrived in. Keep in mind, this all happened in LSA.

The decision to major in business came in waves. The first wave came by accident when I ran into Ross for shelter from the rain on the way home. It was late, but the Winter Garden was still bustling with well-dressed people who all looked busy, confident and important. Comparatively, I was a drenched and exhausted mess. It was all I could do not to stare in awe at the elegant architecture and sleek interior.

The second wave came when I met one of my really good friends, who helped shatter my image of the Ross student. The Ross Student is, according to many, arrogant, conceited and confident in his ability to make other people feel like idiots. But with every word of encouragement and helpful guidance, my friend punched a hole through the picture of the Ross student.

The third wave, though, was a sort of revelation. All my life, I was sure I would end up in government. It was just sort of assumed. But at some point early second semester, I realized that I had none of the in-between filled in. I had no idea how I was going to get from college to my end career. This might seem like the usual college crisis, but for someone who was so sure she knew who she was, it was terrifying. So I forced myself to imagine what the blank decades should look like. And for the first time, I allowed myself to think about what I would want to do besides working in the government.

Obviously, the answer I came to was business. So I applied to Ross, and was accepted. The day that application results came back will always be one of the happiest days of my life. Armed with my bursting excitement and terrified nerves, I walked into the first day of orientation. I was ready both for new experiences and to tease out the confidence that I felt I had lost during freshman year.

I had a very different experience than the students interviewed in Zach Shaw’s article, “Rethinking Ross.” Yes, there were many opinionated students in my section who all wanted a piece of the action during our brainstorming sessions. But this wasn’t alienating — it was inspiring. We quickly appointed a moderator who called on people so that we didn’t speak over one another, and soon found ourselves developing a series of great ideas. We didn’t win the video contest (in fact, we didn’t do nearly as well as we thought we would), but I think we all had a good time doing it. It was a bonding moment, not one for needless competition.

Speaking of competition, Shaw’s article made it a point to mention the Ross curve. The Ross curve has been a huge source of anxiety for me, and I’m sure that many others would agree. But the thing is, it’s the industry standard. More importantly, I completely disagree with the idea that it pits students against each other. I have never been turned away when I have asked for help and I have always been happy to give help even when it could, in theory, negatively impact my grade. We’re a community, one of interesting and diverse people. Being competitive is part of the game, but it doesn’t necessarily get in the way of that sense of community.

The majority of my professors are intelligent and charismatic women who I see as role models, and at every turn I find new viewpoints and inspiration. The Business School isn’t flawless — as Shaw points out, our African American enrollment is low, we have more anxiety than we should and some of the students are, in fact, so arrogant that they make me want to pull out my hair. But, in the short time I’ve been a Business student, my confidence has skyrocketed, and I have developed real skills that I find myself using in everyday life.

Ross isn’t perfect, but I’m proud to call it my school.

Rachel Tucker is Business sophomore.

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