“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
"I want to live... I want to live... A chance to live my life,
I want to search far and wide and have a reason to wonder why... "

When I was in high school, this song from "Peace Child", a musical created by Soviet and American children, became etched in my heart. Passionate about discovering and improving the world, I left a familiar life in Russia and set off alone to study in America with just $20. My adventure turned out to be the American dream, a quilt of colorful patches: from living on a farm in Missouri to working for a nonprofit in New York.

I leave HBS excited about my future professional path, with hopes of creating a family and finally figuring out where home is. I dream of having my dear parents nearby and attaining at least some of their strength, generosity, and wisdom.

As I try to do that, I want to always remember my past and the kindness of the people I've met on my journey. I want to go boldly towards the future and never lose the sense of wonder I felt as a teenager singing songs from "Peace Child". Like I believed in myself then, I want to believe in other people's dreams and improve their lives, for there is no greater reward.

— Nelya Nikonova