Tyler Manfrin and Daniela Cuevas are the 2019-2020 Eller Scholars of the Year. They were honored at the annual Eller Salute to Excellence on Friday, Oct. 11. Both students gave inspiring talks about their personal stories of perseverance. The text of the speech is below.
By: Tyler Manfrin
I am a Senior majoring in Business Management with a minor in Global Business. Within the Eller college, I am the VP of Eller Expo/Career Showcase for Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, the VP of Information Technology for Eller College Dean’s Council, and also an Eller Ambassador.
My college journey has been far from linear. I moved 2,000 miles away from home to attend UA, endured various highs and lows while joining on-campus organizations and securing an internship, and as a Senior, I’m still unsure of what the future holds for me post-graduation. However, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
While dealing with hardships, I remind myself that these situations of discomfort are what evoke exponential growth. For some or most of you, being in uncertain situations may grant you feeling extremely uncomfortable. But I ask you to embrace these moments and use them to propel you even further. For me personally, I grow the most when I’m uncomfortable. From overcoming each obstacle, I gain knowledge and positive light which propels me forward and makes me even stronger.
However, regardless of how strong we perceive ourselves to be, it’s extremely important to have a support system in place who help you through these uncomfortable situations. First semester Freshman year I was given a bid to join Delta Sigma Pi. As my fourth and final year within this organization is approaching, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting involved and applying yourself. The triumphs and hardships I’ve experienced within this organization are what jump started my college career. It wasn’t easy putting myself out there after being on-campus for just a few short weeks, but again, this uncomfortableness is what I needed to thrive.
As I reflect on my college career, I can think of multiple instances where I’ve been at my lowest of lows. Amidst my internship hunt, I went through a company’s entire interview process and was told I was a top candidate. After three weeks of sending follow-up emails, I received a generic denial email stating I was not receiving an offer. This sent me to rock bottom. However, this instance of defeat sent me soaring even faster toward my end goal. After countless interviews, I received an internship offer with GEICO and left with multitudes of personal and professional growth, and a full-time offer for after graduation.
I tell you this story to show that persistence is key. It’s easy for all of us to sit in defeat and wonder why these things are happening to us. But as I’ve previously mentioned, these instances of uncertainty and defeat are what propel us forward to achieve our goals. You can plan out your life as much as you want, but nothing will ever go 100% to plan. Whether you’re facing challenges in Accounting 200 or finding your dream job, I challenge you to push yourself and overcome these obstacles knowing it will only make you stronger.
All-in-all, my best advice is to enjoy your college experience. I heard this quote from the past recipient of this award, and it has resonated with me ever since. “Life is a marathon, but college is a sprint.” Eller has managed to transform a 40,000-person campus into one community, and you feel it the second you step into the building. Eller has provided me with an absolutely outstanding professional foundation, but also with life-long friendships, impactful experiences, and so much more.
Congratulations to all of you on your achievements and I am confident that you all will be outstanding students and leaders in your careers. Thank you again Nancy for nominating me for this award, thank you to the entire Eller faculty, and thank you mom. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you all today, and always remember, Bear Down Suit Up.