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My grandfather taught me a valuable lesson…and I want to share it with you
Written by Jack Delehey on January 14th 2022
I want to introduce you to my grandfather, Chuck:
Chuck is truly one of the most thoughtful, caring people I know. When a newcomer enters the room, he is the first person to get up from his chair and make sure the individual feels welcome, whether via personal introductions, a glass of water, or a hefty portion of my grandmother’s delicious cooking.

He is also a thoughtful gift giver. Over the holiday season, he provided each of his grandchildren with a tremendously thoughtful gift. And I’ve decided to re-gift the message here. If this message helps even one single high school student…it will be worth it!

Chuck’s Christmas gift…and more importantly, the message behind it
On Christmas morning, we all gathered in the family room to exchange gifts. When it was Chuck’s turn, he provided this gift to each one of his grandchildren:
If you know Chuck, you’d know he is not one to simply give a gift and move on. The importance of the message needed to be explained. And so, he did just that…in beautiful diction & carefully crafted words that only accompanies a man who spent decades delivering thoughtful legal decisions as a judge in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

While I won’t have nearly the same eloquence, I will try to relay Chuck’s words below, as they relate to you, the high school student (or parent of a high school student).

Chuck’s message, passed along
Students, as you embark on this journey called “college planning,” you may be somewhat nervous or even scared. You may not know what lies ahead. When you hear the words “College essay”, “SAT”, “Early decision”, “Campus tour”, or “College list” you may want to curl in a ball and hide. Believe me, it was not that long ago I felt the same!

But I have one recommendation for you:

Just take the very first step, whatever that is. Jump into that arena!
Will you make mistakes in the arena? Absolutely. WIll you fail in that arena? Almost certainly. Will you have a 2am night, staring at a blank page, hoping a college essay topic finally comes to you? Perhaps. But you know what’s worse than any of these things?

Not jumping into the arena at all.

College planning is nerve-wracking! It’s scary! And to add to the nerve-wracking qualities, it is significantly different today than when the previous generation went through it.

And while we’d love to think reading a quote like the one above is enough, as humans, to get us motivated, let’s be honest…sometimes we need a little push into that arena. And that is quite okay. I can tell you this: the day I decide to try to learn the tango, I’ll need a push from someone into that arena…dancing is far from my strong suit.

Next steps
If this email was enough to help you or your high school child get started with the college planning process, I am delighted. Don’t thank me. Thank my grandfather (you can email him and thank him directly here if you’d like).

But if you think you fall into the category of needing a slight push when it comes to the college planning “arena”, I might just be able to help.

Cheers to hopping into the arena,

Jack Delehey

Jack Delehey (Vanderbilt '14) is a college admissions expert originally from Concord, MA and now resides in Denver, CO.  It is his goal to pass on his college admission knowledge, strategies, and unique perspective to high school students in a young, fun, relatable, older-brother type manner.

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