To first-year Chase,
I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You decided a month before your high school graduation to go to UVA, with hopes of it being life-changing to your future, and I can say honestly, it was. When I think back to all the people that doubted you and encouraged you, all I can say is that you have pushed past limits many thought you would not reach. College won’t be easy, but you will do a hell of a job portraying to others that it looked that way. You will have your ups and downs, but just remember what you were always taught: to thank God, put your head down, and keep grinding. You even developed a motto for yourself, "Take it. Apply it. Move on." And I think that sums up everything about college. While there are people and situations put into your life to tear you down, there will also be meaningful relationships and connections that you will make for a lifetime. Just accept what happened, take what you need to learn from it, and move on to the next. Because as a fourth year, I know that time keeps moving.
You came in with all smiles, and you're leaving that way. I guess you can say college was a success. You will learn how to make a name for yourself and light up the room whenever you walk in. Put your mark on UVA by leaving this place better than you left it. College was nothing someone could prepare you for, but it's an experience that only you can go through and learn from. Every day will be something new despite what you think your routine should be. You will learn to understand that and prioritize the things that matter most. Remember to explore new relationships and activities while doing the things needed to keep your peace.
I think Drake said it best in his song, 6PM in New York: "Some nights I wish I could go back in life. Not to change sh*t, just to feel a couple of things twice." Continue to be you and continue to make a difference. You are the person you wanted to become, and you have accomplished more than you ever thought you would. That is why others are proud of you, but more importantly, that is why I am proud of you.