Use Time Effectively or ‘Learn to Love Caffeine,’ Advises Scholarship Winner

Nick Stropko
Photo by Eric Simonson
Who says you can’t be a top scholar AND have a sense of humor?

Senior Nicholas Stropko, 18, is JSerra’s second-ever National Merit Scholarship winner, and on Saturday will be among the 238 students earning diplomas.

His advice to students who want to emulate his academic successes: “Use your time effectively. If not, learn to love caffeine.”

Stropko, who lives in San Juan Capistrano, will attend Drexel University in Pennsylvania this fall and plans to study communications.

JSerra Blog asked him how it feels to earn such a prestigious scholarship.

“It’s a great honor. I was really thrilled when I heard,” he said.

JB: Why did you choose communications?
NS: I love speaking, writing, and working with people, and plan on going into public relations.

JB: What is your favorite high school memory?
NS: For an AP U.S. History project on the Jazz Age, I played jazz piano for the class. I got about $3 in tips, with which I bought a cookie.

JB: You earned a National Merit Scholarship and scored very high on the AP exams. How much time do you spend studying?
NS: I spend a fair bit of time studying, but I make sure to keep it in balance with leisure. I do not like studying, but I recognize that it is very important at this stage in my life.

JB: What’s your toughest subject? Why?
AP Calculus. I feel that is self-explanatory.

JB: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
NS: In five years, graduate school, probably. Either that or I may go to Eastern Europe for awhile. In 10 years, hopefully I will have a career in PR or be doing something involving music.

JB: Who are your role models? Why?
NS: Besides musicians, I don’t idolize anyone in particular. I just try to do my best and believe in myself.

JB: Anything you’d like to add?
NS: “History is written by the victors.” – Winston Churchill.