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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Nunez Roa

Come rain or shine, connections can last a lifetime.

Many people believe that true friendships can form in any place and under different circumstances. During my to Los Angeles, I witnessed this phenomenon firsthand, confirming its truth. I consider myself quite sociable, able to strike up a conversation and make friends wherever I go. However, typically, these connections only endure for the day. Yet, the connections I formed during my LA trip proved to be different. From the very first day, engaging with my fellow peers felt effortless and natural. There was never any pressure or anxiety when approaching them to strike up a conversation about anything. These connections are more than simple friendships; they represent the seeds of future business ventures. As time progresses and we advance in our respective careers, these seeds will continue to grow and flourish.

 

When setting out on a business trip, the primary goal is often to engage in networking opportunities while maintaining a professional demeanor. While there may be moments of fun, the overarching focus remains on fostering business connections. This was certainly the expectation on the first day of our trip, as everyone adhered to the established norms of professional conduct. However, as the first full day unfolded, a subtle shift began to occur. What started as purely business interactions gradually evolved into something deeper and more meaningful. The initial formality gave way to genuine friendships, as we found ourselves connecting on a more personal level. It was as though the confines of professional networking were going away, and authentic relationships began to blossom. Conversations went away from purely business matters, allowing us to share personal items. In doing so, we discovered common ground and forged bonds beyond mere professional acquaintanceships. By the end of the day, it was evident that something great had taken place. What began as a group of individuals brought together by a business trip had transformed into a cohesive unit, united by shared experiences and genuine connections. As we continued our journey together, these newfound relationships would only continue to deepen and evolve, laying the foundation for potential collaborations and lasting friendships.

 

Three NMGZ Community ambassadors left a lasting impression on me and significantly enhanced the trip's experience. Despite the early morning wake-up calls each day, I always looked forward to spending time with them. Maddie from Grand Valley State University, Ashley from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks, and Alexmary from the University of Florida, each played a pivotal role in my journey, with key interactions that added depth and meaning to our shared experience. Let's begin by highlighting Maddie's significant contribution to our group dynamics. From the moment we started interacting, Maddie's warmth and approachability made it easy for everyone to open up and share. While the specifics of our initial conversation are fuzzy, the impression Maddie left on me remains crystal clear. She possessed a natural knack for sparking engaging discussions and offering thought-provoking insights. Whenever we needed to divide into teams or collaborate on tasks, Maddie's presence was always sought after, as her contributions consistently added value to our interactions.

 

Let me tell you about Ashley, one of the first classmates I got to know on the trip. Our conversations about accounting were eye-opening and really got me thinking. Ashley's explanations and insights not only piqued my interest but also helped me see the importance of accounting in a whole new light. She shared her passion for the subject in such a relatable way that it made me excited to learn more and explore the field further. Many accounting professionals used to make me feel discouraged about the field. It got to the point where I lost interest in learning about it. However, as I started to talk to Ashley about why she likes it, I began to feel excited about the prospect of working in accounting.


Finally, there's Alexmary, whose energy and enthusiasm while exploring Universal Studios surprised me in the best possible way. Despite having visited Universal Studios Hollywood many times before, I never expected that this trip would help me build the confidence I needed. It wasn't until I witnessed Alexmary's approach and demeanor that I realized the invaluable lesson she was teaching me. She showed me how to harness that same confidence and apply it to my everyday business interactions, a lesson I'll carry with me long after the trip is over. By guiding my group to every ride and photo spot, and confidently navigating through the rain, I was able to develop a newfound sense of confidence in myself. Each decision I made felt crucial, knowing that one wrong turn could potentially derail our entire trip.

 

In conclusion, my trip to LA served as a powerful reminder that connections forged in any circumstance can endure for a lifetime. From the outset, the ease with which I connected with my fellow peers transcended mere professionalism, evolving into genuine friendships that I know will stand the test of time. These connections, rooted in authenticity and shared experiences, have already begun to bear fruit as seeds of potential future collaborations and business ventures. Moreover, the trip provided invaluable lessons in personal growth and confidence-building, thanks to the inspiring examples set by individuals like Maddie, Ashley, and Alexmary. Their warmth, enthusiasm, and unwavering support not only enriched our collective experience but also left a lasting impact on me personally. As I reflect on the journey we shared and the connections we formed, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to learn, grow, and forge meaningful relationships that will continue to shape my personal and professional journey in the years to come.

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