By Mariann Gyorke
There it was, on my nightstand, presumably placed there by my Mum in anticipation of my visit. The Yearbook! A closer inspection revealed its title: “The year ’93: Total Recall” and sure enough, memories started flooding back once I opened it…
I graduated from Richmond in May 1993, the first Hungarian student the college has ever had. How exciting, to be part of such an international community! And looking at the Yearbook, there is no doubt about what a diverse group of students we were. “Unity in our Diversity” the school’s motto, was a fully lived experience. We treated each other with respect, curiosity, and embraced our differences. As an only Hungarian, I have never felt lonely and made some ever-lasting friendships. My best friends were Paula 1, Paula 2, and Paula 3: all from Rio De Janeiro. I think at Richmond I became an “honorary Carioca1” and I have carried my newly discovered sunny-side joyfully ever since.
Studying at Richmond was also unique because of the Liberal Arts approach. Universities and business schools in France, my chosen home country, do not allow their students to study any subject other than their chosen field. Not so in Richmond! During my Freshman and Sophomore years, I had the chance to explore “Biological Basis of Human Behaviour,” “Introduction to Ecology” (a great choice for summer school, we had many an enjoyable walk in the nearby Richmond Park), and “Modern Art” to list only the most exciting subjects. Twenty-odd years later I appreciate the importance of the variety of these subjects even more because it gave me a basis for being able to enjoy different ways of thinking while cultivating a healthy ability to criticize. In a world where everything seems to be speeding up and where we are constantly bombarded with (mis)information, it is probably one of the most useful life skills to have.
As I continued leafing through the Yearbook, I also remembered my first real love: Accounting. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that the pure logic of debits and credits have seduced me from the first lecture of Accounting 101. What started as a flirtation with this often misjudged subject has led me first to a Minor in Finance and then a career that allowed me to satisfy my curiosity about business and companies from the very first moment. Hired by KPMG as an entry-level auditor, I had immediate access to all people and information at our clients which included big names such as General Electric and Pepsico. My enthusiasm for Accounting pushed me to become a qualified Chartered Accountant and has given me almost twenty years of a rewarding and enjoyable career.
I now find myself at a crossroads, and perhaps that is why I have volunteered for this blog-post (though finding the Yearbook on my nightstand has certainly seemed like an omen). Looking at an image of myself and my friends just about to enter definitely and forever the Adult World, reminds me that I have always wanted to do meaningful work. Richmond has prepared me well, and I am grateful to be able to do something as small as writing this post to share my reflections. I am also excited to see that the University is taking on new projects for example Matrix or the recent TEDx event and certainly would be happy to join the journey.
1 A “Carioca” is somebody who is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil