Every high school student has heard the deal before. Throughout many high schools across the country, teenagers are often told that they need to map out their future while they are in grades 9-12, otherwise, they will struggle in post-secondary education.
Don't tell that to Mojin Chen.
The salutatorian of the class of 2011 at Manalapan High School said he isn't exactly sure what his future holds, and nothing specific has come to mind, not even a college major.
Still, the highly successful student has plenty of good advice to hand down to the underclassmen who may one day take his place as one of the most smartest student in his class, finishing second in total grade point average.
"You need to surround yourself with good people," Chen said, "You'll soon find out that they will be the ones to motivate you and push you."
Along with being around good people, the Dartmouth University-bound Chen said that the most successful students are the ones who are not afraid to challenge teachers.
"Don't let teachers get away with stuff," he said, "If you think they are being unfair, challenge them in a respectful way so they don't get in trouble."
Additionally, Chen mentioned that one of the biggest problems with students is their fear of asking questions. He said that no matter who you ask, it is best to try to work together to find an answer.
"If you treat people well, you will be treated well in turn," Chen said of interacting with other people.
Chen credits his success in high school to his ability to use his time wisely and get all of his assignments done on time, usually before deadline. "If I have two weeks to do a paper, it will be done on the second day. I'm the anti-procrastinator," Chen said.
Chen also explained that he was lucky to have excellent teachers to guide him through his four years of high school, and, of course, hard work always pays off in the end.
Students need to understand that failure is a part of school; do the best to avoid failure, but know how to bounce back from it as well, Chen advised.
After taking a few general education classes at the Dartmouth campus in New Hampshire this fall, Chen will decide a major and take his education from there.