High school treated you well- you made new friends, tried new things, and experienced new problems and outlooks. High school may be over, but this is just the beginning. You’ve changed and grown up so much over the past four years and now it’s time to put it all to the test, or the first of many tests, which is college.
Some things in high school were a breeze- you’re extremely smart, probably one of the brightest people I know. I hope you know that being in college will truly challenge your knowledge. You will have courses that aren’t your best subjects with difficult or even lousy professors. That’s just how it goes. Even courses that peak your interest will keep you up late to either study the textbook cover to cover or to write a paper with a length requirement so extreme you end up writing the same thing in as many different ways as possible. Of course not every class will be like this; some classes are a joke and some professors just might not care enough to make the class as hard as it could be. Either way, stay on top of your school work like your life depends on it- because it kind of does. You will feel lazy at times or want to push some things off until the next day, but trust me, do not be that student. I doubt you ever could be. Those bad habits will easily become a lifestyle and before you know it, you’ll be drowning in more work and stress than you thought imaginable. You’ve always been an excellent and an above and beyond student- keep it that way.
It’s your first real time away from home in a new place with all new people and that can be a scary and daunting thing for the first couple of days. But you’re not alone. Everyone else is in the same boat as you in new waters. You won’t be the only one yo miss your own bed, home cooked meals, or your friends from home, so keep paddling. You will meet people who will make you wish that college will never have to end. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with anyone because anyone could have a huge impact on your life. You’ll meet people who you can bond with over so many different things- the more you show of who you are as a person, the more people you’ll have around you. But also remember that you are who you surround yourself with. Don’t associate yourself with people who make you feel uneasy or who are simply up to no good. Be cautious of who you open up to; one day someone can act like your best friend but treat you like dirt immediately after. Don’t be afraid to leave “friends” that you make behind as quickly as you make them. People come and go, that’s life. If you judge anyone, judge them by their character because that is more revealing than anything they’ll ever tell you about themselves.
Most of all, you will learn more about yourself in these next four years than anything else. Of course you will learn academically, or I would sure hope you do, but you will discover more about who you are, who you will become and everything in between. After a short amount of time, you’ll learn your identity as a student by how hard you work and by your relationships with your peers and professors. Strive to be the best student and best classmate they’ve ever known. You’ll learn about who you are as a friend by how you treat others. Whether someone becomes your close friend or not, treat everyone you meet like someone of importance, until they show you that they deserve to be treated otherwise. Be the person they’ll never forget so that when they see your name on something, they can recall how kind and gracious you were to them. You’ll discover how you handle stressful situations and learn how to responsibly handle your emotions and work. A lot will happen at once, but how you handle the situation will be more crucial than the outcome, whether it be a complete success or not exactly what you were hoping for. Your future will seem bigger, brighter and closer. You’ll think of career ventures that you never thought of before and be intrigued to give it a shot. The doors will open and the opportunities will seem limitless so that no matter which path you choose, there cannot be a wrong one. Any choice could be the right one for you.
I am lucky to have you as my younger brother and I am proud of who you are and who you will become. Your future is as bright as you are, so continue to shine. Stockton and Rutgers are so very fortunate to have you- go make to yours.