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SOAR Story #1 - International Exchange Opportunity

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Back in August 2020, I posted a blog about SOAR stories. SOAR stories are a fantastic way to reflect on Situations that seemed challenging at the time because of certain Obstacles. In order to succeed, you took Action and the Result was something you can be proud of, and which contributed to who you are today. It built character.

You many think that these stories mean nothing. After all, they are just stories. However, ALL stories have a meaning; ALL stories disclose something about the characters in them. The character-traits are what keep people interested and yearning for more.

The story is only one part of what makes doing this exercise valuable. The more important part is rediscovering who you are at your core and what attributes distinguish you from others when faced with challenges.

I'd like to continue sharing some of my personal SOAR stories and the characteristics that they exhibit.

What are some of your SOAR stories? If you can't see your inner #basass, we can work together to rediscover it! I'd love to hear them and publish them on this blog!


I went to a small state college in New England and was on the 4-1/2 year plan. The summer before my last semester, I was in my counselor's office discussing which classes I needed to take in order to graduate by the end of the calendar year, when I noticed a pamphlet for a student exchange program between my college and one in Osaka, Japan.

I learned that the program was not going to begin until the fall of the following year. Preliminary discussions had just begun and logistics had not been worked out between the two establishments. Contracts had not been signed.

I asked my counselor how we could fast-track the process because I felt, being a Japanese-American business student, I was the best candidate to represent my state college as the first exchange student between these two schools.

The only thing really left to do was for the Dean of Student Affairs to sign the contract. Mind you, I was not an honor-roll student, nor on any Dean’s List (hence the 4.5-year college plan), so he had no reason to know who I was from the barista at the local coffee shop. Regardless, I left my counselor’s office and I high-tailed it to the Dean’s office, requested to speak to him, and convinced him why I should be chosen and why they should begin the program 12 months early.

Ultimately, the Dean signed the paperwork and I was on a plane to Osaka, Japan, as the first exchange student between Keene State College and Kansai Gaidai University.

Note: this story ties in nicely to my blog of October 27, 2020, about trusting the timing of your life. If I hadn't been on the 4 1/2-year plan, this opportunity would not have presented itself and I would not have seized it.

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