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Business administration online student ‘always dreaming’ of his next move

Josh Griffie, a business administration online student with Oregon State University Ecampus, sits on a boardwalk.

After realizing he did not want to be an engineer, Josh Griffie switched his major to business administration and soon landed an internship – and then a paid job – with Nike. (Photo by Jordan Andrews)

Health issues fail to derail Josh Griffie’s positive outlook and pathway to success

By Tyler Hansen
Aug. 7, 2020

This is a story about how plans change, whether you want them to or not.

It’s a story about a healthy, active teenager on the cusp of college who develops a life-altering autoimmune disease.

It’s about a standout soccer player who aspires to play for Oregon State University but instead becomes a spectator, relegated to the sidelines.

It’s about an engineering major in a family of engineers who realizes he wants to study business.

It’s about a Nike global sportswear intern whose zeal and hard work leads to a job in global influencer marketing – only to have his position eliminated by a global pandemic.

It’s a story about one person, Josh Griffie, whose life plans have been disrupted so frequently that he can only laugh when asked where he finds the strength to keep going.

Griffie, 25, is finishing his Oregon State business administration bachelor’s degree online through OSU Ecampus, and he’s doing it while coping with chronic health issues, job loss and the general turmoil caused by COVID-19.

The truth is, he has grown so accustomed to life’s ever-evolving circumstances that he is prone to making abrupt changes in plans himself.

“One of my biggest strengths is my ability to adapt, dream and persevere, but it’s also one of my greatest weaknesses,” says the resident of Portland, Oregon. “It has led to countless opportunities by being able to quickly assess and step into events that are happening around me. …

Josh Griffie sits on a stool. He is studying business administration online with Oregon State University.

Josh Griffie runs his own photography business, an interest that runs in the family. His grandma shot photos for Nikon for 40 years. (Photo by Nick Balera)

“The flip side of that coin is that while I’m always dreaming of new experiences and seeking to be better, learn and grow, I also often forget to focus completely on the present, to rest and to be content.”

Finding joy amid the struggles

Much of Griffie’s time at Oregon State has consisted of venturing down one path only to eventually be pulled down another – either by his own design or due to circumstances out of his control. He started in 2013 by studying engineering on the Corvallis campus, then added entrepreneurship as a second major.

Ultimately, he put his studies on hold in 2015 and moved home to Portland. He was burned out on school and constantly battling ulcerative pancolitis, an ailment similar to Crohn’s disease. Not only did he use the time away to focus on pain management, but he also wanted to determine what he wanted out of life.

The answer: a lot.

“I am blessed that I genuinely love life and people,” Griffie says. “I love new experiences and am extremely self-motivated and ambitious in my pursuit of growth. Even if (experiences) suck or are hard, I can find joy and something to learn in almost everything.”

A new home in business and online

That overflow of positivity has made his second act at Oregon State – and the early stages of his promising career – a resounding success. After about two years of building a sizable photography brand in the Portland region, he enrolled fully online in the Ecampus business administration program.

The transition to studying business helped Griffie indulge his passion for marketing. It plays into his people-first, story-driven outlook on life. And the OSU coursework offered skills that played a role in him earning a Nike internship in 2019.

“Throughout my college career, I’ve always had a job in addition to my academic studies,” he says. “This balance of learning hard skills in my OSU classes – whether it be statistics, business law, economics or whatever – in conjunction with constant interaction in the working world has allowed me to constantly learn as I seek new experiences.”

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There have still been some figurative bumps in the road in Griffie’s journey, including a literal car crash driving home to take his OSU finals after hanging out at the beach with fellow Nike interns. His health issues persist, but soon he’ll complete his Oregon State business degree, and he’ll pair it with real-world work experiences that will serve him well in the future.

Even as the world continues to shift from the havoc unleashed by COVID-19 and additional social unrest, Griffie knows that his foundation is built on success and perseverance, and nothing can change that.

“Through my trials, I have learned that you can only control your attitude and effort. I know that even if I feel literally broken down, I can see that there is still joy to be found or a story to be gained as I learn and fail,” he says.

“There is a high chance that my next role or project will be outside of my past industries, but I have the skills to navigate whatever is thrown at me.”

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