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This past weekend I watched my brother Philip graduate from Cornell University…yet again. Philip graduated this weekend with a J.D. from Cornell Law School. While I’m not surprised that he achieved yet another amazing accomplishment, as we reflected on his 7 years at Cornell (ironically walking up the slope), I realized that his commitment to the challenge is something that we should all take a moment to recognize.

When you think of the typical Ivy League grad you may think that he has always been brilliant, academics always came easy, and going to Cornell was always in his favor. However, for Philip this was very, very wrong. Growing up, I remember Philip in the basement of our house studying for hours on end. He stayed after school EVERY single day for extra help, while I stayed after school for cheerleading practice. I remember the frustration in his eyes when he didn’t receive his desired SAT score or the tears in his eyes after finding out his first LSAT score. Philip taught me that hard work doesn’t always pay off– in the short-term. You have to try, and try, then try again to get your desired results.

Philip also taught me that each and every struggle should motivate you to remain committed to the challenge you set forth to accomplish. Unlike most of us, Philip was in 4th grade when he expressed his interest in studying law. Something I always envied, but taking a deeper look I realize that the hurdles that he jumped to get to this point is something I know I’m not cut-out for. Every single thing in Philip’s life was a struggle (no offense, bro!). From birth, to being bullied in elementary school, to taking 5 AP courses his senior year of high school, to that f-ing Japanese Politics class he took his Freshman year, to the not-so-great Fraternity he joined, to graduating Cornell (the first time) with no clue of the next step, and the list goes on and on. The funny thing is, if I asked him after each and every one of these challenges, “Do you still want to be a lawyer” he would have said “absolutely!” and if I asked, “Will you graduate from an Ivy League University?” he would have said, “I better!”

I wanted to take a moment to thank Philip for some things that I always took for granted:

Thank you for teaching me what “commitment” really means.

Thank you for motivating me.

Thank you for your resilience.

Thank you for raising the bar.

Thank you for being my big brother.

Philip should be a constant reminder to all of us, to commit to the challenge. Seriously, right now think of something you want to do. Whether it be graduating from college, running a marathon, scoring your dream job, or getting your yoga certification- commit, and go do it.

21 Comments on Commit To The Challenge

  1. Stacy
    May 27, 2015 at 8:52 am (3 years ago)

    What a wonderful story of inspiration. Congratulations to your brother for accomplishing that goal, he stayed with it and like you said “committed to the challenge”. I’m also committing to the challenge – I start grad school in August. It won’t be easy, in fact it’ll be hard as hell – but I’m going to do it. And this story just gave me a boost of confidence.

    Thank you
    S. P. In Louisiana

  2. Jordyn
    May 27, 2015 at 5:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Your big brother seems like a true inspiration. It is so amazing he was able to overcome adversity and obstacles to achieve his goal! I’m sure he is going to be an amazing lawyer!!

  3. Jenny
    May 27, 2015 at 8:04 pm (3 years ago)

    This is awesome and proves that if you’re really dedicated, then you can do whatever you set your mind to!
    Thanks for sharing this inspirational story.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  4. Tiffany Khyla
    May 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm (3 years ago)

    That’s so awesome that you have a big brother who set such an awesome example for you growing up and still. Congrats to him!

  5. Laura
    May 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, your brother sounds pretty awesome. It must be so cool to have a great role model like that!

    Laura | Ginger & Co.

  6. Ashley
    May 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Awe that’s great! I hope my siblings think the same way, but I guess we’ll see! Good luck!

  7. Rob
    May 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm (3 years ago)

    I feal lucky to know that guy.

  8. Sari
    May 28, 2015 at 9:22 am (3 years ago)

    You have a very special bond and a very special family. Congratulations to all of you on this wonderful accomplishment. He too, is very lucky to have YOU as his little sister! Love you all!

  9. Kay_Simone
    May 28, 2015 at 10:18 am (3 years ago)

    This is beautiful! I literally had tears in my eyes! I can definitely tell you love your brother!

  10. Marie H.
    May 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm (3 years ago)

    I love this so much! I have really committed to the challenge in several areas of my life and this was definitely much needed daily inspiration.

    Marie H.
    Progression By Design

  11. Susan Paliotta
    May 29, 2015 at 7:09 am (3 years ago)

    Inspiring and beautiful! I attribute so much of this tenacity to your amazing parents!!

  12. Taylor
    May 29, 2015 at 3:22 pm (3 years ago)

    This is so inspiring! Congrats to your brother! That is great that you have such a great role model to motivate you!

  13. Marie Goldstein Sr.
    June 2, 2015 at 2:26 am (3 years ago)

    Marie…I have read this every day since you have posted it…and each time it left me at a loss for words, but here goes… I am so very proud of the person YOU are today and have been through the years from when you were a very little girl. As you and Tiffany suggested we take a walk as a family though the Cornell campus to savior every moment of time and to celebrate your brother’s accomplishment, I watched as you enjoyed Philip’s accomplishment as much as he did, and as always, you were by his side continuing to cheer him on. You kept encouraging him to keep walking the walk as your excitement grew as he continued to reflect on times gone by. Although, this time I watched as we walked the campus, this was not the first time I saw your encouragement and love reflected on behalf of your “big brother”, it was one of many times in many different ways and of many scenarios that I saw this throughout the years. I will never forget that walk through the Cornell Campus as you, Philip and Tiffany, together, led as we walked the Cornell hills for many reasons… including, how once again, I was reminded of what an extraordinary person you are, an inspiration, pillar of strength and sea of encouragement you have always been and continue to be to all of us. Thank you for being you. Love Mom


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