As a computer science major, it is especially important to me that I balance out my time with
non-technical activities such as writing for the Vector, singing in a choir, or staying fit through Zumba
class. I am a firm believer in stepping outside my major field of study to explore other disciplines and
further my personal development in diverse ways.
I want to speak to the incoming freshmen especially. We’ve all been in your shoes at one point.
Some of you may have already found a niche and are thriving. Some may still be struggling to meet even
one or two new friends, a problem I faced as a shy freshman, all alone in a country with no family
members. However, I want you to remember two things: never stop talking to people; and never stop
trying new things.
If I had clammed up and given up on speaking to fellow students after a first few awkward
attempts, I would not have the amazing group of friends I have now. I would certainly not be writing to
you as Managing Editor of NJIT’s newspaper, let alone be a part of Vector in any capacity. On an
academic level, reaching out to my freshman year computer science professor gave me a coveted
research position after only my first year of college, and provided a springboard into other opportunities
and experiences that have prepared me for my journey towards graduate school.
Once you find a comfortable routine, it’s easy to let it trap you and make you forget to travel
outside your comfort zone once in a while. Falling into a rut sometimes means becoming complacent
with situations that are less than ideal, but that you stick with just because you are afraid of change.
Remember, your past may have shaped who you are now, but it doesn’t have to dictate your future. You
have the power to shape your path going forward based on the actions you choose now. Sometimes, this
may look like “giving up” – just because you had to take a semester off school because you didn’t receive
financial aid, and are now half a year behind in academics compared to friends your age, does not make
you a failure. Just because you declared a math minor but got waylaid by music classes, rendering you
unable to complete it, does not make you a failure. As you will find out through your college years, this
isn’t high school any more. Labels don’t matter. It’s the thoughtful decisions you make, based on your
talents and opportunities, that matter the most.
Student, faculty member, administrator or otherwise, you have been given the chance to
immerse yourself in a diverse academic community, and a chance to make the most out of your
experience. It’s always the right time to learn.