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Letters From the Dean

Check back here every Sunday for Dean Rifkin’s timely message to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences!

This Week - Commencement

Dear Students and Colleagues:

At this time in the semester, we are all under stress.  Students are frantically writing papers and studying for exams.  Faculty members feel like Sisyphus:  the mountain of papers and exams to be graded just seems to get higher every day, no matter how many papers are graded and removed from the pile.
But it’s all worth it.
Many of our graduating seniors in HSS filled out a survey to share with me some of their thoughts about their TCNJ and HSS experience.  Their thoughts were so compelling, I am writing you now to share them with you in the hope that their love for our college will inspire you and help you summon up the strength to complete your work in this busy season.
Special thanks to all our seniors who are authors of these and all the comments from the survey:  the survey was anonymous, so I don’t know who you are and can’t credit you by name, but my hat is off to you.  All of you.
The Most Important Ways in Which I Grew As a Person at TCNJ
I have learned to live with people very different from myself and love them.
I have learned to think more critically and have learned to accept criticism.
I found my sense of self and my voice.
I have realized that nothing should be taken for granted and I should live life purposefully.
I learned to have acceptance for myself and others. I learned to be kind and think beyond the surface of things.
I have matured in ways I would have never thought of without ever noticing the change.
I’ve learned that I’m not a perfect person, and that’s fine.
I have learned to prioritize, and how to value myself.
I came to college chasing a dream that wasn’t mine and being in college led me to realize that I need to find my own passions and pursue them.
What will the class of 2014 be in the year 2024?
We will be people who are doing something we love and making a difference in the lives of others.
Advice for the Class of 2018 
(Also good advice for everyone else, including students in the Class of 2014 as they start this new phase of their lives)
Be happy where you are now.
Be yourself. Don’t be anyone else.
Be spontaneous and brace yourself for whatever may come on this long journey.
Embrace every moment because in the blink of an eye it’ll all be over.
Do not be afraid of the dark.
Always remember that the world is what you make of it.
Find what you love and love it with all you have:  Money doesn’t define your character and it never well. The ultimate currency is passion and love.  If you have an infinite supply of both, your soul will never hunger.