After high-fiving their awesome classmates, incoming students heard a powerfully simple message from author, entrepreneur and motivator Arel Moodie during the official opening of the 2013-14 academic year Tuesday.
Moodie, the best-selling author of “Your Starting Point for Student Success,” told the 357 new freshmen and 30 transfer students that the power of choice will determine their greatness. “The power of choice is the one thing we have over every single animal on this planet,” he said.
Deciding goals, plans and what they’ll do with this year starts now, he said. “There are two days where you don’t have to do anything – yesterday and tomorrow. Now is the best moment.”
An entrepreneur in his 20s, Moodie grew up on welfare in the projects of Brooklyn, N.Y. College was his way out, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. “If you get the idea, the power of choice changes everything,” he said. “If you grasp this concept, your life is completely in your hands.”
Moodie encouraged the students to put in extra work that goes unnoticed and unrecognized because it leads to success. “You have to be willing to do things most people won’t so you have things that most people don’t,” he said. This could include seeking out professors or mentors for help, choosing to join campus organizations or doing community service.
“If you do not have a great experience at this university, it is your fault. You have to decide to be great, decide to work very, very hard and decide who you are. You have one day to do that and it’s today.”
New and returning students also were welcomed by President Rob Huntington, who also stressed the importance of engagement to students’ overall success.“Heidelberg is all about engagement for our students,” the president said. Do not sit on the sidelines of your passions or your potential while in college. … This campus is a truly caring place where new and returning students can engage with their professors and challenge each other. Take full advantage of our distinctive academic programs. Seek out your faculty advisors and mentors.”
The president also emphasized that out-of-class learning is equally valuable. “Explore, learn, hang out and ask each other lots of questions. Stay inspired and engaged as you live, study, work play and pursue your dreams here at Heidelberg,” he said.
The new students were officially welcomed into the Heidelberg family by upperclassmen, who presented them with their official “H” pins.