Over 300 students gathered at the Multipurpose Room in the Student Union Building on March 4 at 7 p.m to hear how Eric Thomas is changing the way in which the youth of America view their life today.
Thomas’s visit was made possible with the help of Kutztown’s housing and residence life department, the multicultural center, ACE and the Black Student Union.
“I am extremely happy with the turn out,” Zeke Montgomery, one of the event coordinators said, “We had 300 plus people and were only expecting 150. He gave a great speech and really spoke to a lot of people, which was my main goal.”
Montgomery experienced a change in his own life when he watched Thomas’ Youtube videos.
“I ran into his video, ‘how bad do you want it,’ and through that and his mix tapes and books, it really pushed me to push myself and really see where I could go.”
“I started from the bottom,” said Thomas about his early life in Detroit. “I was eating out of garbage cans and living in abandoned houses.”
This changed when he realized he wasn’t doing everything he could to better himself. Now he is Eric Thomas, renowned speaker, educator, author, activist, minister, proud father and husband.
His goal is to inspire the youth of America to be the best they can be. He said that in order to be successful, one must first recognize which of the four groups they are a part of.
“There are four types of people in this world. There are average people; these are the people I can’t stand. Then there are good people. After good there’s great people. Finally, there are phenomenal people,” Thomas said. He then told the room, “If you’re not great, I need you to make that transition.”
He explains that average people are the people that do the bare minimum. They do what they need to do in order to get by and nothing more.
“Greatness is a mentality. If you are an average basketball player and you don’t try to get any better, don’t expect your career to be like Michael Jordan’s,” he said.
“This generation wants more, but works less. People just go to work to get paid,” he said. “People need to be more self-motivated and passionate about what they do.”
Thomas continued, “You have to take advantage of the opportunity of a life time in the life time of the opportunity.”
He compared this to students hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. “Every time you hit that button you are pushing away an opportunity,” said Thomas.
In regard to balancing school and enjoyment time, Thomas said, “It’s ok to have fun. Just don’t have fun at the cost of your career. If you spend these four, five, six years wisely, you could be living a completely different life in the future.”
He talked about the struggles on the way to a career as well.
“You can do whatever you want, but on the road to success, they are going to try to break you,” Thomas said. “Learn to outlast that disappointment, and you will become stronger.”
“When I was talking to him it felt like I was talking to a friend,” Alex Rivera, 20, a sociology major.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Thomas gave his personal phone number so students could contact him if they have a serious problem. After the speech, Thomas stayed to address any questions his audience may have had.
By Cassandra Kosielowski