Expect the Unexpected – Matt Klein

Hey Dukes! I hope that all of you are having awesome summers and are ready to head back to JMU soon!! It is so exciting to think that in a week we will all be heading back to our friends, organizations, and that brand new football stadium!

For me, my summer has been busy with a lot of unexpected events. I didn’t know what this summer was going to look like a few months ago; everything sort of fell into place as part of an amazing plan, and it seemed that no matter where I went, I couldn’t escape JMU. I somehow ended up being around Dukes, promoting JMU, or being around people who knew about our stellar reputation!

My journey started nowhere else, but at JMU. I decided to start my second summer of college in a row taking Maymester classes while I waited to hear back about my acceptance into the business school. With the new rankings for the prestigious JMU College of Business, I knew I needed to work hard to attain the business degree I’ve been seeking since day one of my freshman year. So, here I was at JMU for a stressful month from May to June taking 6 credits of Statistics and Macroeconomics, not some of my favorite courses.  After a month of late nights and caffeine consuming, I made it through Maymester and needed to find a job.

Luckily, a co-ambassador hooked me up with one of his previous jobs at Hermitage Country Club. Yes, I’m from Fairfax and this was in Richmond, but my sister is a VCU grad student so it seemed to work out. It was nice to know that in a tough job market, I could rely on my fellow Dukes to help me when I needed it. At Hermitage, I had on the job training to learn how to make an assortment of products. Okay, I’m a cook at a country club, but it’s a fun summer job working with college students from the area. Most of my co-workers just so happened to be Dukes, and we were able to look forward to August together.

Early in July, my family headed up to New York to visit family and had tickets to the Yankees game where Derek Jeter had his 3,000th hit.  Who would’ve guessed that I’d be able to witness such a marvel? As a lifelong Yankees fan, it was a dream come true to see the baseball hero of my generation hit one of the greatest hits of his career. It was definitely a profound moment that will stay with me the rest of my life.

 Literally right after our trip to New York, my family went on a last minute vacation to Hawaii.  Later, it became an “ohana” vacation. We learned down in Hawaii that everyone is considered part of your “ohana,” and everyone was deemed your “cousin.” This community reminded me of the open-the-door-for-anyone community that is offered and embraced at JMU. At a local luau, I represented JMU as a selected member of the ohana to call out to the fish as part of the Hawaiian ritual, grass skirt and all. Cousin Marcus, our tour guide, told me that I served JMU well. He had only good things to say about the University, and I was surprised to hear something about it all the way out in Hawaii! Meanwhile, throughout the trip I enjoyed hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, sea-turtle swimming, and many other adventures.

After all of these extraordinary events, at the end of the summer, the best day came when I received an email a week earlier than expected. I opened it not knowing what the results may be. Then I saw the word, “Congratulations!” That word alone was enough to make me burst with excitement and make me want to throw my little smartphone up in the air.  I had finally heard that I would be taking COB 300 in the fall. My plans for the semester were set, and my future as a business major was established. The first thing for me to do was to spread the news with my family, suitemates, and then Facebook of course.

I brought my triumphant attitude to the Virginia 21 conference at William & Mary. With fellow SGAers both from JMU and Universities across Virginia, we discussed higher education funding from the students’ perspective and how that funding can be put to better fulfill our needs. It was inspiring to hear that some of the same concerns, as well as some different ones, were felt at various Universities.  Having the opportunity to discuss our possible future was exciting. It gave me a promising outlook for the coming year at JMU. After the daylong conference, we proceeded to get to know the other representatives through a trip to Busch Gardens – I love rollercoasters, so it was a blast!

I’m so excited to be going back to see everyone, and also to welcome those who are coming in as a First Year Orientation Guide! There are so many opportunities to interact with different people from year to year, and having the chance to impact an incoming student or any student on a daily basis is certainly something to anticipate. I’m looking forward to serving my second year as the President of the Class of 2013. We have many new ideas and traditions in store for the coming year, and we are excited to get back and get the ball rolling!

For me, every year is a new slate where I can pursue something or someone new and have an impact on them. There is always something that can be done to progress yourself or the University, and I hope you take advantage of every moment. No matter where you go in your travels or what you do in the future, remember what you love most about JMU and act on it. Continue to be the change, JMU.

-Matt Klein, Class of 2013 President @Matthew_Klein

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