Did it really happen? It is one of those questions a lot of my friends, including I, ask ourselves about college. And for me, its even a further memory because literally, I am so far away from where I went to school. As the class of 2013 sit patiently in their seats waiting for their names to be called, I am in Los Angeles reminiscing about my last week in college. The biggest thing I took away from college was "where" I was graduating from. A lot of family and friends would remind me throughout my 4 years how significant my degree would be, but it didn't hit me until I listened to all the distinguished speakers and crossed that stage.
"Holy Crap I am an Ivy League Graduate!!"
That went through my mind when I saw my parents after the ceremony. For me it was a huge stepping stone due to where I came from, both finically and culturally. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be "Ivy League" worthy, but somehow someway I kept my head above water and crossed that stage. The 4 years had its struggles but I wouldn't change anything. A big reason why I didn't get overhyped in where I went to school was because I was too busy either with football commitments, homework and Architecture work. To be honest, for me, the New York I know exists from 110th to 125th, between Broadway and Amsterdam, and the football stadium at 218th and Broadway. I was just so busy and distracted with things sometimes I forgot where I lived and where I went to school. I tried hard not to let the whole "Ivy" thing intimidate me. I just saw it as school, and after it was all said and done, I can say I learned more outside the classroom than inside.
People always ask me what is it that makes an Ivy League education so special and expensive. Personally, it's the students you go to class with, and in some cases the Professors who teach the class. It is not so much what they are teaching, but who is teaching. For example, I had an Art History teacher who missed half the semester because he was being invited by museums all over the world to speak at special exhibits and events. This was sophomore year, and from that point on I realized that some of these professors are legit lol. It was very common for my own professors to use their own books, and other material from fellow faculty, which at times where professors I previously had. But hands down it is the peers in your classes. I can honestly say that some of these students will be millionaires before they are 30, and that the next greatest Social Media site, app, movie, book, invention, design will come from one of the students sitting right next to me in CC, Music Hum, Art Hum or pretty much every class I had.
Exactly a year later and all I can say about my college career is "babies and memories." I met some of my best friends, future business partners and rejuvenated my ambition and drive in college. In High School I didn't feel any competition or intensity. It was such a small bubble, even though we had 4,000 students, but it was small in the sense of goals, ambition and drive. There were some smart people at my school, but I only measured myself against my brother because his potential is on a whole different level. At Columbia, you can pretty much say that about everybody who walks on that campus, and that is the difference between Ivy League schools and other colleges around the country. At my high school, kids dropped out all the time, were caught up in chasing girls rather their grades, girls got pregnant etc I love my High School to death, but at the time it was not a place revered as a school to get a good education. Anyway, the 180 degree flip I saw in culture at Columbia opened my eyes. I wish everybody can experience what I did at school, because it really does put your life in perspective and is a good measuring stick. When the President of the school and my Dean started listing the statistics on how many living Columbia alum are their in the world, and that we are next generation of that family, that is when it hit me: like I have accomplished something significant and it it is something I will allays take to heart and be thankful for!!
This past year has been hard, it's not the way I planned it, but nothing ever is in life. But I can say I am in a good place, not so much financially (which right now is not really my motivation), but rather my state of my mind and ambition is where I want it to be. I am working on incredible projects with incredible people, and my blog is at a place where I never thought it would be possible to reach. And the scary part is that it's just the beginning of what is about to happen in my life. It excites me, but I know there is a lot of hard work ahead of me. Even though I am 3,000 miles away, I still wake up to the same measuring stick and remind myself about the opportunities that do exist out there in life. It doesn't matter about what your age , what education you receive, it boils down to a mind set and work ethic. I am just very blessed that my education has uplifted me to a unique level, and puts me ahead of the curve in a lot of areas.
To my friends in the Class of 2013, let me leave you with the 2 songs that played as I walked off that campus. Congrats to everybody and wish you guys the best!!