For those that don’t know, today begins a countdown for my last 10 days. In a sort of homage to the impending closure of my education I felt it appropriate to look back at my last 6 years and reflect on some experiences that have shaped who I am.
Naturally, the list is not all inclusive and it isn’t in any particular order or relevance. I like to think of this as the clichéd flash of your life before you pass on, which is a somewhat ominous yet appropriate analogy.
I think it is fitting to look at the beginning.
I was not a studious high school teenager. As many of my close friends and family can tell you, I was less than enthusiastic about school. I regret many of my actions and attitudes back then, but they are a part of who I am. I barley scraped by in high school, and I mean that to the fullest extent. I can’t give you a reason why, I just didn’t care. I thought I had my life figured out, but I lacked judgment and foresight – and those are two things you kind of need when planning a future. Well, needless to say I was not accepted to SUNY Buffalo, and looking back there is no reason they should have accepted me. Sure, over my senior and junior years I took on many AP classes and did reasonably well, but I had made bad choices early on.
I was fortunate enough to follow my senior year of high school with SUNY Brockport. They gave me chance, and that is something I did not want to waste. I worked hard, got straight A’s, and used my new found sense of motivation to my advantage. I applied to ACP with the hope that I could actually succeed in life. However, it meant leaving home, my family, and close friends, which in retrospect was not as far as I thought, but at the time it seemed like an impassible distance.
I didn’t have confidence that I could get in.
A few months later I grabbed the mail and there it was, a larger white enveloped labeled Albany College of Pharmacy. There was a letter inside, from Carly Connors that started off:
I wanted to congratulate…
It was from then on I learned one of the most valuable lessons so far in my life. A lesson that my family had been trying to teach me since I was in elementary school.
If I work hard it will pay off.
Well looking back, it has been six years of hard, sometimes grueling, work and I think it has paid off. The point is anyone can accomplish great things in their life, it just takes time and dedication.
As a semi-related anecdote I wanted to share a personal story. One of the people in my life who always pushed me to do my best was my Grandma Reggio. When I was in elementary school she had the duty of dropping me off at school one day. Before I could jump out of the car she said to me “Brian, when you are in school today, I am going to be standing on your shoulder making sure you work hard.”
As a 10 year old I didn’t take my Grandma’s words to heart. Well, at the beginning of my junior year of high school she must have found a way to get herself on my shoulder, because I started working harder. I don’t know what it was. In fact, I was doing so well that I was expecting to make honor roll for the first time. I did make honor roll, unfortunately my Grandma never got a chance to see. She passed away only a week or so before I got my grades.
I like to think she is still on my shoulder. She is looking out for me, making sure I work hard, and that I make the right decisions. I also like to think that she knew I earned honor roll that quarter, the rest of the time in high school, and the entire time I have been at ACP.