18 Jul 2016
- By Junhan B. Todiño - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
MAE C. Nakajima, a former student at Mount Carmel School, graduated summa cum laude from California State University-Sacramento where she was also a consistent dean’s lister.
She believes that the key to academic success is to stay motivated.
“As an undergrad, I would often surround myself with uplifting quotes and symbolic pictures whether these were displayed on my phone wallpaper, calendar, binder, wall posters or laptop backgrounds — they helped me to keep pushing forward,” she told Variety.
She also boosted her morale by finding a study buddy who could give a different perspective while motivating her to work harder.
In the end, Nakajima said what matters is to ask oneself,
“Why do you do certain things?”
“That ‘why’ will give you the drive to achieve academic excellence,” she added.
Mae Nakajima is the daughter of Masahiro and Marissa Nakajima of Chalan Kiya, and her bachelor of science degree is in business administration with a concentration in international business and a minor in Japanese.
Initially, she said she studied general management because that was what her father did.
However, in her sophomore year, she started to take an interest in a couple of multicultural classes along with a few Japanese language and literature courses and decided to pursue a degree in international business.
The following year, she studied at Yokohama National University in Japan and learned more about the Asian country and the world.
From Aug. 2015 to Feb. 2016, Mae worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce as lead international trade assistant, and was a student assistant for the California State Lands Commission in 2012.
At the moment, she said, “while nothing is set in stone…I am aspiring to work for an organization that involves my major in international business. I look forward to what the future holds for me.”
As a child on Saipan, Mae was enrolled at Grace Christian Academy from kindergarten to fifth grade and was a Saipan Community School student in sixth and seventh grade.
She was a member of the Saipan Swim Club and the Saipan Community School track and field team.
At Mt. Carmel School, she was a member of the National Forensics League, the MCS Theatre Club, the MCS High School Mock Trial Team, the Youth Choir, American Red Cross, the Student Council as vice president and of the National Honor Society.
She said her biggest challenge in college was to make adjustments to her surroundings.
“There was a great difference in how people in California lived compared to Saipan. If you`re someone like me whose never set foot in California until she decided to study there, then relating to the locals may take a little while. Another hurdle I had to face was adjusting to courses that assume you took some form of them in high school, which in many cases I had not, and trying to follow through a lecture without having a solid foundation in the subject. I studied a little more and had so much help from my professors and peers. Slowly but surely, I became accustomed to college life. The fastest way to adjust is to be involved in as many school organizations as pique your interest. Find friends that motivate you and learn from them because they are willing to help you out.”
She said education opens doors to endless opportunities.
‘I think local students in the CNMI should pursue a degree in majors that help stimulate the growth of the CNMI economy such as but not limited to environmental and ocean sciences, business, international relations, tourism, education, arts and humanities.”
She added, “Opening doors is not the only thing education is good for. It also changes the way we live. Education gives perspective — a different angle — from which to see the world. Even after you graduate, the learning process must continue or you will never know your full potential. Treat each day as a starting point because you are not the person you were yesterday, but a traveler in the present. Finally, here’s a quote from Joseph Campbell: ‘The hero’s journey is inside of you; tear off the veils and open the mystery of yourself.’ ”