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Note To My Younger Self: Alumni Advice to New Students

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If you could write a note to yourself before you started your freshman year at Stony Brook University, what would it say?

Alumni have been given the opportunity to answer this question through the #NoteToMyYoungerSelf Social Media Campaign, providing current students with valuable pieces of wisdom. Follow this campaign as it progresses or participate with hashtag #NoteToMyYoungerSelf.

Read a selection of alumni responses:

“Spread your wings. Take advantage of every opportunity…don’t hold back.” – Sheila Solomon ’71

“Remember this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Enjoy the next 4 years thoroughly as they will shape you for the future. You got this!” – Robin Limmer ’95

“College life changes from Freshman to Senior year, so enjoy it. It will not come again.” –  Arnold Gallardo ’93

“Enjoy the journey. Find yourself and don’t be afraid to show who you really are. Try a little bit of everything and see what fits. If you high school was fast, this will go by the blink of an eye.” – Michelle Wishnevsky Fermaglich ’00

“Enjoy every second of your time at Stony Brook! Shoot for your dreams they can come true! Before you know it you will be driving by saying I went there 20 years ago!” – Jeanette Mattera Levy ’96

“Don’t ever shy away from trying something that scares you. It might end up changing your life in a really profound, positive way.” – Erica Cirino ’14 ’15

“Make sure to take a moment and enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Don’t let stress overcome you, because these are some of the best years in your life–even if you may not yet realize it–and it will be over before you know it.” – Alicia Nelson ’11

“You don’t have to keep that major to “prove” something. You’re a separate person, you can do what you want. Don’t feel pressured into staying in something. There’s so much amazing stuff you can participate in- don’t feel trapped. Go for it.” – Laura Petrea Lehmkuhl ’14

“Keep going. There will be days where you feel like you can’t finish that homework assignment or can’t understand something you’re studying. But if you keep pushing yourself, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. Go to office hours, form a study group, and stay motivated!” – Nicole Casamassina ’17

“Take as many electives as possible, especially classes in areas you may not think you have an interest in. Two of the best classes I took had nothing to do with my major.” – David Badanes ’82

“Study abroad and see as much of the world as you can while doing it! Travel and education go hand in hand!” – Linda McCall ’83

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make it a point to get to know your professors, they really are there to help you.” – Kaity Woody ’07

“Study at the library, not in your home or dorm!”- Virginia Addison ’86

“Start giving to Stony brook and get involved. Giving helps with rankings and will help those less fortunate than you succeed without financial burden.” – Bob Cuccaro ’96

“Always strive to do your best in the classroom but never let it consume you by studying becoming more important than taking care of yourself. Self-awareness, leadership skills, networking, and learning outside the classroom are more important than a perfect GPA. Study abroad and travel as much as you can. It’s so important to learn about and experience other cultures across the globe. Never let failure or rejection discourage you, let it fuel you to keep pushing. And when everyone else calls you crazy for having such big dreams, trust that one day you’ll end up living them out in California.” – Mallory Rothstein ’15

“As a retired College professor who went to Stony Brook as an undergrad, my advice would be “senioritis” can’t continue into your freshman year. Budget your time between assignments, studying and fun. However, remember why you are in college. This is the springboard to your future. Make the most of it.” – Gene Indenbaum ’70

“Go to class. Even the morning ones. Even if you don’t want to. Even if friends are doing something fun. No one will push you out of your dorm room so you need to do it. Learn all that you can. College is an amazing place to learn so much. Don’t waste that chance.” – Julie Pinkussohn ’03

“Don’t be afraid to open up to someone about your struggles and failures. You’ll be surprised with the awesome advice you’ll get from your peers, professors, friends, and family. Remember, it may seem impossible at first but no challenge was ever made easy. Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can such as travel abroad, office hours, campus tutoring programs, resume workshops, student life events, research, etc. Most important of all, believe in your greatness.”  – Bisma Zareef ’15

“Hold on! The ride is like nothing you could ever imagine.” – Maria Colavito Denicolas ’79 ’88

“Just go to class and do the work you need to do. It will get ahead of you really quick if you don’t keep up.”- Saket Ati ’15

“Always remember the passion that drives you; when it gets tough, you get tougher.” – Kristen Drury ’05 ’07

“Consider all of your opportunities and choices. Don’t be hasty. Live for the present so you can build towards the future.” – Kazi Sakiouzzaman, MPH ’09

“Before declaring your major, invest as much time as needed to find and define your purpose.” – Peter Guzzardo ’74

“Don’t underestimate the amount of time you will need to do your assignments.” – Xavier Yondvale ’17


The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not reflect those of Stony Brook University or the Stony Brook Alumni Association.

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