Dear Class Of 2025,
Congratulations! You made it.
I cannot begin to imagine just how much you’ve faced for the past few months. Some of you went from being in a high school with bullying, roasting, and for some, racists teachers, to virtual learning. Regardless of the struggles that many of you have encountered, you made it. My name is Dennis Richmond, Jr., and I’m an author. I’m a 2017 graduate of the illustrious Claflin University. I would not have been the Founder and Director of the New York-New Jersey HBCU Initiative had it not been for my experience at Claflin University. T mission of the Initiative is to educate students throughout the states of New York and New Jersey about the educational opportunities available at HBCUs
Through conversing with high school age and college-age students for the past few years, I learned a lot about the situations that many teenagers face. Some of you are coming from a very hostile home environment, others are starting school with children, and some are independent students embarking on this journey alone and afraid. With all of that said, I would like to offer you all some collegiate advice to keep you on the straight and narrow. A little something from your “Big Brother.”
First off, be sure to keep your academics first. Even though virtual learning may not be something that you like, remember to stay focused. Do not put anything before your academics. That’s the main reason you’re there. It might seem appealing to run to his or her or their dorm late night and “chill,” but stay focused. It is much easier for a GPA to drop than for a GPA to rise. Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Case in point, keep your academics first.
Secondly, don’t challenge every Professor. I cannot stress this enough. Some professors love a good debate. When I say, “some,” I’m using that term very loosely. Others, on the other hand, feel as if everything they’re telling you is the gospel. Just listen and take notes. You might disagree with what your professors say sometimes, but sometimes you just have to listen and take notes. I have had my fair share of battling professors. Believe me when I tell you it is not worth it. It’s their classroom- virtual or in-person.
Third, remember that not everybody is your friend. Most college campuses, even those that have large student bodies, are “small” in the sense of students knowing other students’ business. Be careful who you tell certain things to, even it’s through social media because you don’t want it to come back to you. If you have personal secrets that you share with people, be sure that those people will love and support you and not use you. On the same token, if you are on campus, be careful with who you choose to go out with. Going out could be going to a party, walking to a fast food place, or even hopping in a car for a quick Wal-Mart run.
Lastly, live it up! Nah, for real. Live it up! You made it to college! Have Fun. Period. College doesn’t last forever, and believe me when I tell you that the time spent on campus truly does fly by.
Now with all that said, relax, pray and/or meditate as needed, and have the time of your life.
Now go out there and handle your BI you heard!