By Sanket Shah '10
First off, I want to say thank you to Randolph for bringing me back here to speak to you all on this special day, just two days before your graduation. You all will be going your separate ways to different colleges in a short time, but remember this: these are not your last days as a Raider. You will always hold that word strong in your heart, no matter where life takes you. The lessons you've all learned in your time at Randolph, no matter how short, are and will continue to be applicable to all of life's experiences. What are some of these lessons? Diligence, community, mentorship, leadership, teamwork, and respect. The formula for success is simple, and you already have the personal traits necessary to achieve it.
You may not think about it often, but coming through Randolph you have learned to be not only diligent in your work, but to yourself. School is hard! You've had to work longer nights than students at other schools and study even more to get where you are today. Nobody forced you to do it. Of course at times it can be annoying to study and get on that work grind, but each of you has formed the discipline necessary to succeed through your work. You've also been diligent to yourself. What I mean by that is you know how to take care of yourself. You exercise, sleep, eat well, and find time to enjoy yourselves as well. I still find time to cook and play soccer even though I’m completely swamped with work, because Randolph got me used to it. This will be really important as you go farther in life, because even though these things seem simple now, staying diligent to yourself will truly reward you later in life, just like cooking and soccer make me feel sane.
These are not your last days as a Raider.
Randolph is a special school that really breeds a sense of community and, as close as you are now, you'll realize the extent of your ties much later in life when you're still so close with the people sitting right next to you, regardless of how far away you live and how busy you are. I was truly surprised by this because I've been far, far away from all of the Raiders for quite a few years now, but one text that says I’m going to be in the same town and we immediately plan how to meet, catch up, and hang out just like old times.
Just a couple months ago, Mrs. Holt and Mr. Bernick contacted me during the freshmen interim trip. We had spoken about Chicago during an alumni reunion, and they invited me to join a dinner with the trip. For me, it was extremely refreshing to see some Randolph faces in Chicago, and it was great to catch up. (This means keep Mrs. Barr updated with your contact info!) This is a valuable community that you can connect with—within your class, above your class, and below for the future generations. You can seek guidance and simultaneously offer mentorship. It is a family away from your family, and one that is worth keeping in touch with.
You might not realize it now, but when you simply give advice to the classes younger than you about what classes to take, what clubs to join, and how to survive, you really are mentoring them. Forms of mentorship will evolve over the years and it is a great way for the Randolph community to continue helping its younger members along not only their career path but also their life path. As soon as you start at your respective colleges, you will have a wealth of information that you can help the next class of Randolph seniors with, and I strongly encourage you to use that knowledge to help them in their college application processes. This will always be a part of your life. As a medical student, I have people younger than me approach me all the time about how to get into medical school, what it is like, even if we don’t know each other. I’m more than happy to help out, and I feel that characteristic truly began to form as a Raider.
Most of you have been involved in clubs, teams, and extracurriculars, and many of you have served in a leadership capacity. You know how to lead from more than just that though. You have a solid education and people respect the confidence that comes from that. I didn’t realize that until I became president of a group in college in which all of the 100+ members were older than I was. That confidence from Randolph showed, and people respected my role. Your confidence will help you lead your peers in the future. Take initiative whenever you see the chance, even in something as simple as breaking an awkward silence in a group. Continue to lead even more as you move to different cities by organizing events between Raiders and other colleagues or even coordinating volunteer events in the community. Lead as an example!
Equally as important as it is to know when and how to lead, is knowing when and how to be a team player. All of you have been a part of a team, whether it be in sports, extracurricular clubs, the theater department, or even the team that is the Class of 2016, each of you knows how to be a team player. Regardless of how smart you are, people like working with people who are easy to work with. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Randolph has taught you a lot about respect, not just for your teachers and peers, but for everything around you. You respect yourselves, you respect your assignments, and you respect your goals. Continue to do so throughout life. In college and beyond, respect yourself. Listen to your body, be safe, and take care of yourself. Continue to respect your assignments, whether they are actual homework or tasks assigned to you by work, or activities you are involved in. You’ll be surprised how much recognition you get from your superiors for simply respecting your duties and always getting things done. Finally, respect your goals. You would not have made it to where you are without doing so, and I know you will continue to do that. Continue to make new goals and give them the respect they deserve. Put in the work that is necessary and you will achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself.
Diligence, community, mentorship, leadership, teamwork, and respect.
Each and every one of you possesses these values I have described, and I hope that you not only remember that, but also use them to succeed. Randolph as a school has helped you get where you are today, and Randolph as a community will help you get where you want to be. Be a part of that community. Stay involved, advise those junior to you, seek help from your seniors, and, most importantly, enjoy being a part of this amazing Randolph family. Class of 2016, thank you for having me, and we look forward to seeing you at future alumni reunions and events. Congratulations!
Sanket shared this advice with the Class of 2016 at their Senior Breakfast, welcoming them into the Alumni Association. He has just finished his second year Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. As a Randolph senior, Sanket served as President of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Spanish Club. He was captain of the varsity soccer team, Valedictorian, and the recipient of The Last Diploma. At Emory, Sanket was inducted into numerous honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa. He was, and continues to be, involved with volunteering, outreach and student mentorship. While at Emory, he founded a chapter of Give a Kick, a charity founded by fellow Raider Drew McDonald '11. He was President of Global Brigades and the Emory Honor Council. As a medical student, Sanket has conducted research in ophthalmology, which he has presented at national conferences. He makes time to enjoy club soccer and cooking.