The Key to Doing What You Love is Loving What You Do

  • Having Dinner with Lee, an International
    Student from China

According to, Michigan State University has the 22nd best undergraduate business college in the nation. Not to mention a nationwide top 10 undergrad program in supply chain management. Needless to say, getting into the Eli Broad College of Business is an extremely impressive accomplishment due to the stiff competition surrounding admittance. This is what Elisha Dryden, a Michigan caddie from Lost Dunes Country Club, was hoping to achieve as an incoming freshman at Michigan State.

Elisha was born in the small town of New Buffalo Michigan, which boasts around 2,500 inhabitants during the school year, yet close to 10,000 during the summer because of the fact that the town is located right on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. As Elisha grew up and progressed through high school, he was able to watch two of his older siblings become full-time teachers, including his older brother who is currently teaching special education overseas in Qatar. At New Buffalo High School, Elisha become highly involved in the Spanish program, and was able to take a college level Spanish class while still in high school. Leading up to Michigan State, he was able utilize his Spanish skills by entering into the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), which allows students to earn college credit by achieving satisfactory scores on subject tests. He did very well on the test and earned himself 16 college credits that he was able to carry with him into Michigan State. Despite his interest in Spanish, it was hard to say no to pursuing a business degree with such an outstanding program waiting for him at MSU.

After a satisfactory, but somewhat grueling first year at Michigan State, Elisha had applied to business school and was eagerly waiting to hear back to know if he had made the cut. Eventually, the news came; he had not been admitted. After pondering his next steps for a while, he decided to re-apply to the business school after his first semester of sophomore year. However, with several older siblings in education and the possibility of following in their footsteps, he decided to take some Spanish and teaching courses on the side just in case things didn't work out. In one of those teaching classes, Elisha was assigned a project that required him to get to know an international student. He ended up becoming friends with a student from Western China and was able to learn a lot about the differences between Chinese and American culture. The experience was something he really enjoyed, and found that his teaching classes were more intriguing to him than the business classes he was enrolled in.

At the end of the semester, Elisha did reapply to the business college and felt confident about his chances this time around. Over winter break, he received the amazing news that he had indeed been accepted into the Broad School of Business. While he was pleased with his accomplishment, he spent a good deal of the holidays thinking about whether he really wanted to pursue his business degree or not. Do I want to continue in business, graduate from one of the premier business schools in the nation, and likely get a high-paying job right out of school? Or do I want to switch majors and become a Spanish teacher, receive a significantly lower compensation, but do something I enjoy? In the end, the choice was somewhat easy for him. He turned down the invitation to business school and applied for the college of education instead. With the Spanish credits he brought to college with him from passing the CLEP test, and the education classes he mixed in, Elisha is on tract to graduate in four years with his bachelor's in education.

In the distant future, he will be able to look back at this career change and say he chose to do what loved. In the near future, he hopes to be standing at the front of a classroom answering to the title, "Señor Dryden." In the even nearer future, Elisha has plans to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to continue improving his language skills. Lastly, in the present, he is continuing to excel in and out of the classroom. Thank you Chick Evans!