American Optimism

Nick Rejebian

Nick Rejebian ’17

As the grandson of Armenian immigrants and genocide survivors, Chicago native Nick Rejebian ’17 has often thought about what it means to pursue the American Dream, and he does not take his opportunities for granted. A proud member of the 2014-15 mock trial team—which advanced to the nationalsRejebian discusses what his grandmother and great-aunt taught him about America, compassion and creativity. He also recalls his astonishment at learning that schoolwork can be a joy, rather than a chore.


Political science and economics.

Clubs and organizations:

Liberty Cap Society (tour guide), Alpha Phi Omega and Mock Trial.

Favorite books:

The Human Comedy by William Saroyan and The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.

Favorite movies:

Finding Nemo and Dead Poets Society.

On choosing Dickinson:

I knew I wanted to get involved with social sciences from the outset, and when I sat in on social-science classes at Dickinson and talked with professors and students, I felt excited about schoolwork. I realized that being a student at Dickinson wouldn’t be about completing busywork. It would be a stimulating challenge that would push me out of my comfort zone.

Favorite class:

Constitutional Law with Professor [of Political Science Harry] Pohlman, because it was so much fun to debate in class about contemporary issues. Additionally, reading all the court cases gave me a better understanding of my own opinions and beliefs. I knew this was my favorite class when I actually enjoyed studying for the final.

Favorite place on campus:

The Trout Gallery.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Black raspberry ice cream.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I have always loved helping others, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pursue a career in local politics or even become a public defender.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a pilot, because I loved (and still do love) flying and traveling to new places.

My biggest influences:

My great-grandmother and my great-aunt. My great-grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide (1915), and she taught me the importance of dreaming big, working hard and being compassionate. She also taught me that achieving the American Dream is possible. My great-aunt taught me the value of optimism. She also inspired me to be creative, and she showed me how creativity sparks optimism.

About my internship at the Center for Companies That Care:

The Center for Companies That Care appealed to me because it works to foster ethical business practices in the public sector, which appeals to my sense of social justice. It also helps high-school seniors in the south side of Chicago to get into college, and education is so important to success. This internship experience taught me the importance of challenging yourself to go above and beyond. I tried my hand at new tasks, such as writing a grant request.

Nick Rejebian '17 poses with a creative goodbye present--a sock bouquet--at the close of his summer internship.

Nick Rejebian '17 poses with a creative goodbye present—a sock bouquetat the close of his summer internship.


My best advice:

Opportunities rarely come around more than once, so it is important to consider and seize every opportunity that comes your way. You never know what may come of it!

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Published July 2, 2015