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Freshman year has taught me a lot, from the best way for me to study to the ideal order of coffee in the Daily Grind (java chip with an extra shot <3), but most of what I’ve learned has been about opportunities. Here’s one piece of advice that I wish someone had told me when I got to Hopkins: college says no. That’s the harsh truth. No matter how good you are, how smart, how dedicated, or how committed, you will not always get what you want. You will get bad grades. You will be rejected from things you apply for. You will lose friends. Simply put, some things just won’t work out.

From what I’ve learned, the key is getting back up. It’s never letting your motivation waver. It’s knowing that for every door that closes, another one opens. For me, that closing door was the Student Government Association (SGA). I was a freshman class senator and decided to run for sophomore class president. After what was an exciting, nerve-wrecking campaign, I lost. By a lot.

Still think it was a pretty cool campaign! #PepeforPresident

Still think it was a pretty cool campaign! #PepeforPresident


It would have been easy to let that one “no” put me down. To give up on being involved and just go back to focusing only on my studies. However, I decided not to give up. Chose to continue finding opportunities in which I could contribute to my university and that has led to some pretty great things already. Among those are getting elected to the executive board of my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, and the position of Producer for Witness Theatre. These are two awesome opportunity that I would have definitely not had the time to pursue had I been elected to SGA.

So, don’t give up. When college tells you no, because it eventually will, take it as an opportunity to find new adventures and explore new fields. That’s the single most important thing I learned this year.