Grad Profile: Caitlyn Nakatsukasa

Caitlyn Nakatsukasa is a graduating student from Honolulu, Hawaii and will obtain a degree in Business with a minor in Organizational Leadership. After her graduation, she is wasting no time and going straight to grad school!

Why did you choose WOU?

WOU made it very affordable for me to attend and receive a great education in return so that played a huge role in deciding where I wanted to go to school. I also wanted to be closer to my family members that also live in the surrounding area. I never had the opportunity to bond with the family that lived in the Pacific Northwest since I live across the ocean. Being able to attend an incredible university while strengthening relationships with my extended family was a win-win situation for me.

What do you love most about WOU?

I love how WOU provides many opportunities on campus for students to explore their options and learn more about themselves. After discovering resources and utilizing what was available on campus, I started taking advantage of those to better prepare myself for class work, school projects, physical health, mental health, and my future career. The small campus size and tight-knit community makes it easier for students to participate in activities and create networking opportunities since there’s less competition amongst other students and more interaction with faculty, staff, and classmates that care about each others’ well-being.

What do you love most about the Business Degree you completed?

I love how I could apply them in just about any type of job industry. They’re both versatile degrees and I could use the knowledge I gained from my classes and apply them in various companies and organizations.

What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?

This year I worked at Campus Dining and Strategic Communications and Marketing, was the President of WOU’s Business and Economics Club, participated in spring 2019’s Alternative Break trip, and volunteered at the Food Pantry. I met so many new people and created so many friendships through these opportunities. I’m extremely grateful for all of the memories I made through these extracurriculars because I learned so much about other people and I strengthened my professional and social skills that would help me with my short and long term goals.

What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

I got to prove many people wrong. So many people have doubted me and put me down for my failures and mistakes. Prior to attending college, I was told I would never make it far in life because I wasn’t good enough. I knew that during my time at WOU I wanted to prove to myself that I’m more than just a joke to everyone. I looked back at my past decisions and told myself I was going to change and try to become a better version of myself. Ever since then I studied hard and tried new things I thought I would never try before and became a completely different person than I was before. I got to meet amazing people and participate in a vast amount of activities on and off campus which helped shape me into the person I am today. Some people were shocked and their reactions motivated me to work even harder.

What will you miss most about college?

I will miss my little routine of meal prepping in the beginning of the week, seeing my friends everyday, complaining about everything at work, bothering faculty members while they’re working whether they’re busy or not, stressing over the amounts of tasks and homework assignments I have to do, and attending random events on campus. I will miss everything. I’m getting more sad just thinking about it.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I’m going to graduate school! The college career isn’t over just yet.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?

Take advantage of the whole ‘starting over’ phase. This is the chance to challenge yourselves, explore your options, and prove to others what you all are capable of doing. It’s like getting a second chance at re-doing everything because you’re placed in a different environment in a different community with different people from different places from all around the world. Come to college with an open mind because you all get to learn more about yourselves and discover what your interests are. This is truly the time where you all want to thrive not just survive.

What do you know now that you wish you knew your first term in college?

I definitely wish I knew the importance of taking school more seriously from the beginning of college. During the first term of my freshman year I still wasn’t prioritizing my school work as much as I should’ve and I passed many opportunities to become more involved on campus. I think I focused more on hanging out with friends and watching shows and movies on Netflix all day instead.

Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?

During my fall term of my freshman year I had no idea what I was doing. I was so unorganized and frazzled. Apparently I bought a textbook for one of my classes the first day or so of school and then when I got back to my dorm I stashed in somewhere in my drawer. I totally forgot about it and thought I lost it because we didn’t need it until halfway through the term. By the middle of the term the professor told us we needed our books to do a midterm project so I went back to the bookstore and got another textbook. At the end of the term I found the first textbook at the bottom of my drawer and I was so irritated. I returned them both and the person receiving my books looked at me weirdly and asked why I had two textbook for this one class and I didn’t know how to respond to her without feeling dumb.

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?

It’s never selfish to put yourself first. College can be very challenging at times and I noticed that we often forget that mental and physical health are still priorities even though we’re always overwhelmed with other schoolwork and personal problems. It’s important to take a step back and check in with ourselves to see how we’re doing and focus on the factors that prevent us from performing at the best of our abilities so we could become the best versions of ourselves.

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