Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
Caleb Thetford, BSBA
Setting foot on CSU’s campus for the first time as a freshman, business major Caleb Thetford faced many of the same challenges as his classmates, like finding the right classrooms, getting the right textbooks and learning the difference between Rockwell West and Rockwell North.
The most intimidating challenge he faced was less common: “It was a bit of a jump to go from a class of one to a class of 32,000,” he said.
Thetford was home-schooled for his entire education before coming to the College of Business. When Thetford first stepped onto campus, he was unsure how this new way of life would be. Instead of avoiding new situations, he adopted a mindset that would aid him throughout his time at the University: be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“I’m never actually 100 percent comfortable, but it’s being OK with that and being able to push myself to keep exploring what the next step is to be able to grow,” Thetford said.
“Public speaking was something I could not even dream I was capable of.”
– Caleb Thetford
Building connections around education
The accounting department’s Derek Johnston was one of the first professors Thetford connected with, spurring his interest in the accounting concentration and ultimately becoming a mentor. Johnston helped provide resources and guidance as Thetford explored ways he could tie in other interests.
“He’s helped shape what my path looks like so I can pursue my own dreams the way I want to,” Thetford said of Johnston. “He’s been really helpful to tailor that, not just on a general accounting student path, but on an individual path.”
Engaging outside of the classroom
As Thetford began to get his footing in the College of Business, he searched for more ways to become engaged.
“You’re going to learn a ton in your classes, you’re going to learn a ton about people and relationships,” he said. “You’re going to discover who you are and what you want to do, but I feel like a lot of that learning also comes outside of the classroom.”
“[My favorite memories are the] little things, the little conversations, the laughing together, overcoming obstacles together.”
– Caleb Thetford
A fundamental piece of Thetford’s college experience was Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems students and professionals.
Participating in the organization helped Thetford gain leadership experience and personal development opportunities. It gave him a space to engage in conversation about his love for accounting and connect with professionals across industries who were able to provide insights into how he and his peers could use their skills in the real world.
“I really grew through my ability to connect with the other students, connect with the professionals we have,” he said. “It’s provided me opportunities I never thought I could do.”
As Thetford’s experiences grew, so did his opportunities. He held an internship as a professional tax intern for Soukup, Bush, and Associates, where he took the first steps toward achieving his goal of working in public accounting.
“I’ve just really loved the culture of the firm. I’ve interned with them for three tax seasons, and it’s definitely been a great experience,” Thetford said.
It’s a BizRam kind of thing
“The trust and relationships that we’re able to build with each other … it’s that ability of teamwork I think that’s essential for the College of Business.”
– Caleb Thetford
After graduation, Thetford will continue his education through the College’s Master of Accountancy program, with a job offer lined up when he completes the degree.
The relationships Thetford made in the College gave him a sense of belonging and highlighted the strong support network he had become a part of.
“Everyone embraces you for who you are and not necessarily who you should be,” he said. “There’s just a certain camaraderie and a certain standard that we uphold that seems uniquely a Biz Ram sort of thing.”