By Amarelis Bracero, Editor-in-Chief
What comes to mind when you read the phrase “life values?” Some of you may think of family, love, courage, success, and any of the other common life values that exist.
I think of honesty.
Merriam-Webster defines honesty as “the quality of being fair and truthful” and “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” I agree with these definitions, especially with the “straightforwardness” aspect. I believe that one has to be honest if they want to be deemed trustworthy or loyal. You cannot be either of those if you are not an honest person.
So, let me be honest with you: Back in 2012 when I was a freshman, I was embarrassed to say I was a student at NJIT. Having been accepted into Syracuse University’s Newhouse Public School of Communications, I knew what my potential was and I considered myself above NJIT.
As I type those words, I can’t help but feel disgusted with myself. I’d like to issue an apology to any of the people I was friends with those first two semesters: thank you for enduring my pretentious self. I don’t know how you guys did it.
Let’s fast forward to the present day: How do I feel in 2015 about being a Highlander?
I take every opportunity that comes my way to say I am a student at NJIT. Why wouldn’t I, after all? We are one of the leading public research universities in the nation, home of a rising Division I athletic program, and we are overall amazing people.
I am more convinced now of that last part than I have ever been.
See, I wasn’t alone in 2012. Many of my peers felt the same way about NJIT that I did. We were apathetic and quick to criticize our school; but something changed.
I don’t know when it started, but there came a time when we slowly started realizing that we were doing more harm than good by complaining about NJIT on social media or to our friends who visited campus. We were perpetuating the NJIT stereotype.
Last season’s Men’s Basketball success gave us the push we needed to fully let the Highlander Spirit to flow through us. We repeatedly packed the Zoom, got loud, and were supportive on ALL our athletes. People smiled more often and the chatter that once was negative turned into excited banter.
NJIT was finally being noticed and it was our responsibility to show the nation what they were missing out on.
Recently, our athletic program found a home in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Though we haven’t met any of our conference mates on the court, field, or pool, we all banded together to show our Highlander Pride by participating in a mascot challenge that the conference held. Facebook groups were made, strategies were planned out, and friendships formed.
No one expected NJIT to win. I recall one comment on Reddit that read, “Considering we probably have the lowest school spirit, yes, yes we can lose.” I wonder how that alum feels now….
All of this would never have happened had we continued with the same attitude we had in 2012. Perhaps a mixture between the athletic success and the prospect of an on campus concert gave us something to look forward to and thus fueled our passion for NJIT.
There are still those who have not caught the contagious school spirit fever. Not to worry. Fight against it all you want, but it’ll get you and you’ll love every minute of it.
To the class of 2019: don’t let the opinions of others influence how you see NJIT. Make memories of your own. Get involved; join a club and suggest events that aren’t typical NJIT events. Those are usually the most fun.
Above all, stay balanced. School spirits is fun, but remember: you attend a top tier university. Doing well academically and maintaining NJIT’s reputation is the one of the best ways to show your school spirit.
On behalf of The Vector staff, I would like to formally welcome you to NJIT. I hope you enjoy the next few years of your life here.
Please stop by The Vector tent on September 9 after Convocation. I would love to get to know as many of you as I can!