As I watch the dawn bend across the windows of the back drum in an arc of light and the smell of 8 a.m. espressos spill into the air, I realized that I am sitting in a halo. I am sitting in a beacon, a testament that Emma Lazarus was right about this nation. Like many students who rounded the halls of Melcher, I didn’t carry a namesake or a particular legacy. Instead, Bauer helped me make my own through hard work and passion. I feel like am a part of a new generation. A generation where labels and status are part of a bygone era; where our identities are defined by our own ambitions. A generation I like to call the Bauer generation.
I am a child of immigrants and very much a product of their struggle. My first language was Vietnamese and to this day, hints of my accent still surface when I’m nervous. I was raised with the notion that I had to try twice as hard to prove myself in a world where the shape of my eyes and the tint of the flesh on my hands already set me at a disadvantage. But at Bauer, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. In the auditoriums of the most diverse business school in the nation, dialects from all over the world echo within them. And those echoes aren’t just empty vernacular, but rich stories of struggles and triumphs that inspire.
I first walked under the ticker as a skeptic and a cynic. I didn’t want to put myself out there for the fear of being judged. But it was the people of Bauer: the professors, the Bauer Honors advisors, and my peers that taught me something I could’ve never learned in any classroom anywhere else in the world. The people of Bauer taught me about self-acceptance, because being accepted by society can only start with yourself. At Bauer, I found my place as a Vietnamese American and as a member of the LGBTQ community. When I circle underneath the ticker today, as I laugh and converse with friends and professors, I realized that I, as an individual, have the sole power of not just changing my own perspective but the perspective of others as well. By being myself, I can break social stigmas one interaction at a time.
This week, I received an email with a contract. As I signed it, I realized that someone who once felt that they were at odds with society would find himself some 30 floors above Houston next semester in his first internship. So as I sit here in the back drum and the students come flooding in from each sides of the rounded bend, I always look up. Up there there’s a ring of light that bends the sun at its will. Up there lies a halo of the American Dream. Because Ted Bauer gave, I am sitting under this halo, this beacon of hope.
By Alexander Nguyen
Management Information Systems | Bauer Honors
C. T. Bauer College of Business | University of Houston ’18