On Saturday, we celebrated the Class of 2016 at the 96th Graduation Exercises of Tower Hill School. I will always feel a special bond with this class, as my first senior class as Head of Tower Hill. As part of my Charge to the Class of 2016, I borrowed from Ben Jones, a friend of mine who worked in MIT’s admissions office, to offer a few words of advice before our seniors head off to college.
Your friends will change a lot. Let them.
Call someone you love a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.
Become friends with your favorite professors. Recognize that they can learn from you too - in fact, that's part of the reason they chose to be professors.
When your friends' parents visit, include them. You'll get free food, and you'll help them to feel like they're cool, hangin' with the hip college kids.
In the first month of college, send a hand-written letter to someone who made college possible for you and describe your adventures thus far. It will mean a lot to him/her now, and it will mean a lot to you in 10 years when he/she shows it to you.
Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, "what can I learn from this person?" As much of your education will come from this as from any classroom.
All-nighters are entirely overrated.
Working things out between friends is best done in person, not via text.
Don't be afraid of (or excited by) the co-ed bathrooms. The thrill is over in about 2 seconds.
Welcome failure into your lives. It's how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.”
When you're living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents' money.
No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You're going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can't imagine, across all fronts. You can't learn if you're closed off.
Don't always lead. It's good to follow sometimes.
Your health and safety are more important than anything else.
Ask for help. Often.
If you are in a relationship and none of your friends want to hang out with you and your significant other, pay attention. They usually know better than you do.
Life is too short to stick with a course of study that you're no longer excited about. Switch, even if it complicates things.
Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.
This is the only time in your lives when your only real responsibility is to learn. Try to remember how lucky you are every day.
And finally dear Seniors, and this is from me:
Care more about inclusivity than exclusivity, reject elitism and embrace equity, always take the high road, as your integrity will be the very bedrock of your success. And finally, pay attention to ways that you can combine your intelligence and intellectual might with confidence, compassion and humility, for it is in this very combination that you will help transform and inspire the world. Seniors, we love you and we will miss you. Godspeed.