PART ONE OF A SERIES
Ole-Jeger Hoffstuen, class of 2016
Ole-Jeger joined us in 2014 as an exchange student from Norway. Menaul School staff describe the younger version of Ole as over-confident, opinionated, and fun to talk to! He was a solid contributor in athletics, including American football. Ole added a unique viewpoint to our school’s delightful mix of international and local students and enjoyed sharing his Norwegian culture with classmates and staff.
In his exchange year, he had an amazing host family: alumni Will (class of ‘71) and his wife Tilda. They made sure Ole got to visit the most beautiful and historic areas of our state. After one year as an exchange student, Ole decided he wanted to return to Menaul School as an enrolled International Boarding student.
Among Ole’s favorite memories is a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas for a Mission Trip. This trip entailed 32 hours total in vans. “It rained a lot”, says Upper School Director, Mr. Williamson. According to Williamson, an advisor on the trip, they went to Little Rock HS and visited the Civil Rights Museum across the street where they learned more about the Little Rock 9.
Each of the three days on the mission trip, they did service work at a local homeless shelter, serving meals and working in the clothing center. They also worked at a Presbyterian retreat center, where the students enjoyed “9 Square in the Air”, a volleyball game that we still play today in the campus commons during lunch!
When asked to describe the Mission Week trip Ole says that while it was good to bond with his peers, he found it incredibly humbling to be able to help the less fortunate in the area. Referring to the staff in Little Rock:
“Seeing people spend time helping others like that was inspiring to say the least.”
Menaul School teachers helped shape him in ways he finds hard to explain. “Mr. Mains, Ms. Snell, and Mr. Sitler had the biggest impact on my college education by helping me discover and further my interests in the fields of computer science, mathematics, and philosophy.”
At New Mexico Tech, a highly rigorous and top-ranked college located in Socorro, New Mexico, Ole was provided with the necessary challenges to learn to thrive further outside his comfort zone than before. He says that NM Tech also provided the support needed for him to understand when he was out of his depth. “This is a skill I deeply value and use every day in my current job.”
New Mexico Tech has been ranked among the top universities in the nation in science and engineering education. US News and World Report puts Tech as the top-rated school outside of California, and #5 Top Public College in the West. Niche.com rates NM Tech as number 59 out of 978 colleges for Best Professors.
Because of work visa issues, Ole had to return home to Norway last summer, to work full time as an IT Consultant as he readies himself for the next step. He currently works for Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace.
When contemplating the decision to go to grad school, which he still intends to do when back in the States, Ole said, “There is always something I knew in the back of my head that going to grad school is the right choice. It’s not just about understanding how something works, but also why. When you know why and how something works, it’s imperative to know why and when it doesn’t work.”
To embrace knowing/ not-knowing and to carry himself forth into his future career with humility and expertise, Ole knew that grad school is the only place he could pursue such knowledge at a higher level.
Advice to recent grads?
It’s a good idea to forget all the negative things about going to school; what seems like a big deal right now will ultimately give way to other issues which will occupy your time. Enjoy school while it lasts.
Know that it’s ok to take your time. Appreciate what you are studying in your degree; you don’t want to be bored or tired of it right as you finish college!
We know Ole is going to return to New Mexico before too long. After all, his dogs Coxswain and Swashbuckle are with his former roommate in Socorro (pictured, with Ole at Elephant Butte).
Best of luck to you, Ole-Jeger, we can’t wait to see you again soon!
Check out our World Smart electives here.
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