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King Kwasitsu

Portland State University, Class of 2020

Business Management and Leadership & HR Management

Why did you choose your major?

Like almost every college freshman, I tried my hands on a few majors before landing at Management and Leadership and Human Resource Management. I took these other classes just for the sake of it. I always asked myself, “Which one would pay me more?” I resorted to Computer Science. Even though I was very good at it, it did not give me the joy I thought it would give me. I had to delve deeper into myself to pick something that reflected myself – one that comes naturally. And that was to be a successful serial entrepreneur and a person that leads the path and sets precedents. I still play around with programming in my leisure time, but it is just what it was supposed to be—a hobby.

What did you think about college before you attended?

College was the target of every educated person around me, so I believed there had to be something good about it. While I did not grasp the full craze about it earlier, the higher I got in school, the more I understood the importance of higher education—and now it just seems like college is just the beginning.

How was the experience of starting somewhere new?

One of the biggest challenges an immigrant face is the struggle of adapting to a new culture. The process can be tedious and frustrating.

The first struggle is the language barrier. I was already an outstanding English speaker, but those unfamiliar with my beautiful accent did not grasp it quickly. You know, you always had to repeat yourself or slowly say a word or even spell it out, and you frequently must tell others to repeat themselves, too, because they are speaking too fast. Ha-ha! With time, it becomes smoother, just like every challenge we face in life.

A more significant challenge was maneuvering around people. You must watch what you say and choose your words very carefully, or it might land you in trouble. Coming from a lighthearted and less sensitive environment, that took more than a minute to adapt to.

What is your favorite subject or class you’ve taken?

I can never forget my Writing 122 class and Jeff Jaeckle, the class instructor at Portland Community college. Jaeckle was very instrumental in my quest to becoming a good writer. He had patience with me when I struggled to develop my writing skills. He was always there to proofread my essays while making meaningful suggestions. I left his class saying to myself that I have improved significantly.

Philosophy classes are not just any read and summarize class type; it encourages a lot of critical thinking and thinking outside of your comfort zone and challenging your own perceptions and views. Hannah Love, my Philosophy instructor at Portland Community College, was always open to my unorthodox approach to the class. In fact, she encouraged it. I had always known that the way I approach things was different from most people, and I had questioned myself every now and then on whether I was doing something wrong. Love gave me that tap on the shoulder to keep going. I left her class with a strong sense of feeling that normal is overrated.

I will never forget them.

What has been the most impactful experience during your time in college?

As someone who never lacked courage or confidence, I had some trouble with public speaking. Oh boy, how much I dreaded classes that I had to do a presentation—but that was almost every class. Ha-ha. I had to embrace the fact that it was designed to help me and not to deter me. After that, it became easier. While I am not an expert now, I certainly do not that little tingly fear when I need to do a presentation anymore. Looking back, I can say it has been the single most impactful thing I got from college.

I will also never forget the teachers I had along the way. Each has impacted me, and I continuously use their methods and approaches in dealing with life as it comes. Thank you, folks!


What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar?

It is a great feeling to be noticed, but it is a more incredible feeling to be handpicked. Looking back at where I came from and how far the journey has been, I can only be proud.

Anything else you’d like to share that we can use for your scholar profile?

I am very thankful to be a Renaissance Scholar; this would never be possible with Mr. Levin and Ms. Fowler. What they continue to do for students would never go unrewarded. Thank you and your team for making this very rocky road less rocky for us. The hand that gives never lacks!

Are you a Renaissance Scholar? Current scholars and alumni can share their stories here. 

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