“Life’s all about new experiences, Eliot. You just have to go and seek them out yourself.” We had just finished playing an intense game of one-on-one basketball, and while my 10-year-old self kept looking for a rematch, little did I grasp at the time the powerful meaning behind what my Big Brother, Marty, had just said.

We had only been matched several weeks prior, but already he was passing along one of his many nuggets of wisdom that have guided me throughout my young adult life so far. It could be something so simple as saying, “Don’t forget to slow down and focus” while teaching me how to parallel park, or, “Follow through a bit longer with your right hand” when we were playing basketball.

Along with those moments, I can’t help but reminisce about all the movies we saw at the Chestnut Hill Cinema, the games of mini golf and the many Boston College football games and tailgates. (I like to joke that he was trying to “recruit” me to his alma mater, but I am happily a BU Terrier.) Reflecting on our time together, I realize that each moment with Marty has influenced me profoundly and allowed me to become the person I am today.

Having switched schools halfway through middle school, I was quite reserved and anxious as a kid. At the mention of any opportunity to try something new, such as picking up a hobby or going to a club meeting, my instincts would kick in, immediately shun any consideration of the idea and retreat back into the comfort of routines and certainty. It was Marty who taught me that the world is too exciting and broad to limit oneself to the confines of one’s comfort. He taught me that often we have to cast aside our doubts, remain open to unique ideas or opportunities and take the time to live in the moment.

As Marty slowly encouraged me to build my confidence and learn to embrace new pursuits, I came to realize exactly what he meant. Marty was the one who convinced me to do a community service trip to Costa Rica one summer when I would have never even entertained such a “far out” prospect. He urged me to pick up rowing and join the newly-formed men’s crew team at my high school when the thought of committing myself to something so rigorous would have never entered my mind before.

Even when the going got tough and the shadows of doubt seemed to be slowly crawling back, it was my Big Brother who made the time to sit me down over a root beer float (our most sacred tradition) and talk things out. John Wooden once said, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.” Well, Marty has and always will be something more than just a role model to me: He’s a friend for life.

As I come to my last year at Boston University, I have also had time to reflect on the crucial role that JBBBS has played in allowing me to pursue those opportunities that Marty had first encouraged me to reach out to. Aside from the costs of textbooks and other course materials, the fees and other expenses related to being a member of a professional business fraternity on campus and participating in club sports such as water polo would have proven to be a difficult financial burden to carry for my family. Thankfully, as a JBBBS scholarship recipient, I was fortunate enough to undertake such activities and they’ve each allowed me to develop skills and make valuable connections.

It is because of those experiences that I am immensely grateful to JBBBS for giving me the chance to make the most out of college. From matching me with my Big Brother, Marty, to supporting my passions at BU, JBBBS has had an unparalleled impact on my life so far, and I look forward to giving back to the organization in the future.

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