“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
This is quite possibly my favorite quote. It is what drives me to be better each and every day. Rutgers, for me, is just another step on the ladder to success.
I haven’t always been so driven to become successful in life. It all started around the 3rd grade. It was probably the most difficult time for my family and I. Coming from Ukraine, family is all my family ever had. I came to America when I was 1 and a half. We lived in the projects in Newark; my father, mother, brother, and I all fit inside a small cubicle during the early years of my life, until we moved to Millburn, NJ. During this time, I was a kindergartner. I had yet to learn how to read, write, and speak the English language. My mother was a hard-working waitress working long hours, while my father worked as a contractor. Right around the time when we moved to Millburn, my parents divorced. I was raised by mother and while she was at work, my brother would take care of me. My father wasn’t very much of a father to say the least.
My brother and I shared a room together in a 2 story house in Millburn. One night, I woke up, looked to my brother’s bedside and he was missing. I looked outside and saw a police car. This day would forever change my life. My brother was senior in Millburn High School, while I was a 3rd grader at Wyoming School. 2004 was the last time I saw my brother; he had passed away in a drunk driving accident and it would forever change me as an individual.
I had to grow up at a very young age. I never shed a tear around my mother for years to keep her strong. I was the man of the house at the age of 9. Growing up, school was always the most important part of my life till I discovered sports. At one point, my dream was to become an NBA basketball player till about the freshman year of high school when I realized I was never going to be tall enough or fast enough. So, yet again, school became a priority. To this day, education is the most important part of my life. Every day, I wake up and think, “What can I do to be one step closer to success?” Each day is a learning experience. I became obsessed with the idea of being successful around my junior year of high school when I became sick and tired of seeing my mom busting her ass at work 6 days a week. All I ever wanted was to send her on a beautiful vacation where she could forget about having to pay the mortgage on time and constantly having to support me.
I’m a YouTube fanatic to say the least. I spend my days watching interviews, workout videos, motivational speeches, etc. It is my biggest source of knowledge. This year, I realized that I want to pursue a career in becoming a Financial Analyst. So, I spend my days on YouTube listening to the great entrepreneurs and business people such as Warren Buffet and Meredith Whitney trying to acquire their knowledge and apply it to myself. To relieve stress and escape the world, I hit the gym. The gym is what I like to call my second home. I spend about 4-6 days out of every week going there and releasing my inner frustrations. In a sense, it is my meditation. On the outside, most people wouldn’t think of all that I’ve been through because, honestly, I rather have them oblivious to those parts of my life. I enjoy making people feel good about themselves and have a good time, rather than have them dwell on the issues that keep them from living in the first place. Live life to the fullest, no matter what. Although there are ups and downs in life, nothing should ever stop you from reaching the top of the ladder. Conquer your world.