I could go on for days about my teammates and how they have impacted me, but it'd be a disservice because I can't talk about everyone. For all the guys I didn't mention, you all know how much love I got for each of you. To my other seniors on the team, Alec Brennan, Aaron Young and Mike LeBlanc, it has been one hell of a journey. I mean, we really have come a long way since those first weeks of school when we could barely find our way to our classes. Alec had a buzz cut that we should have never let him get away with; Aaron looked like he should be playing football and Mike was rocking the boot cut jeans like they were high fashion. It wouldn't be right if I didn't try to get a few jokes on you! But honestly, we've been through so much together, from taking all of the same classes one semester, to all those hours spent in the gym and the weight room and all the hours spent just getting on each other's nerves. We definitely had a lot of highs and our fair share of lows, but I wouldn't have chosen another group of guys in the world to have by my side for four years. I can't wait until we graduate on June 5, not because it's the end of our time at Princeton, but because it's the beginning of the rest of our lives of family. Thank you, Princeton, for giving this family to me.
I'm not going to sit here and act like my time at Princeton was always perfect or that everything came easy. Not going to lie, a lot of times this place was hard. I'm talking about when it's 7pm, you have two problem sets and a paper you haven't started that is due the next day, but you're just getting out of a long, hard practice. Or when you take that midterm after studying for days and still have no idea how to do a single problem. Or when you just can't figure out how to tell your friends there's just not enough time in the day for them in between basketball and school work. Funny thing is, the struggles and hard times are what I'm most thankful for. Princeton taught me to fail, to fail often and that failure was necessary. I learned that the way I responded to adverse situations would define me as a person. In high school, everything came pretty easy, whether it was school, basketball or social life. That changed very quickly once I got here and I'm so thankful that Princeton humbled me so quickly. From the moment that I stepped on campus here, I knew I was going have to work. If I wanted to be good at basketball, I was going to have to show up to practice an hour early to get shots up. If I wanted to do well in a class, I couldn't sit back, but I'd have to go to office hours and participate frequently in precepts. This place really shows you who you are and forces you to grow as a person. I'm constantly itching for the next opportunity that forces me to fail. Because of Princeton, I know the next time that I fail, I'll be more than ready to meet the challenge. Man, I'm so happy that those "Princeton guys" busted that sophomore's butt that day, which seems like forever ago. And thank you to my parents and sister who made sure I made the right decision and pushed me towards Princeton. I know you probably think I forgot about you guys, but thanks for all the love, support and guidance throughout my time here.
Seven years after my unofficial visit, my days on Princeton campus are becoming numbered. As a freshman, you can't wait for the day you'll finally graduate and walk through the famous gates of Nassau Hall. Nowadays, I try my best to ignore the little time I have left and enjoy every possible second left with my fellow seniors.
It's impossible though, because you start experiencing a lot of "lasts" as a Princeton student and athlete. A few months ago, I had my last practice. I lifted my last weight. I attended my last banquet. This week, I'll go to my last lecture. I'll participate in my last precept. I'll write my last paper and hand in my last problem set (Thank God. I won't miss those). I'll even have my last meal with my friends and teammates.
Damn. Just like that, it's all over. It's finally starting to hit me, I'm really about to graduate from Princeton University, the best institution in the world. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I think as a student here, we all get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget just how fortunate and blessed we are to be in this position. Hopefully there's someone reading this that gets to have their very own "Welcome to Princeton" moment and experience all that Princeton has to offer. I'm certainly a better person today than I was six years ago when I made my decision to come here.
Thank you, Princeton.