Wao Factor

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Junot Diaz speaks to the freshmen class

“Most of you are carrying the dreams of other people. And the point of college is to figure out the dreams you have for yourself.”


As a freshman at Rutgers College, Junot Diaz was a tough kid who worked at a steel mill, ran six miles a day, and could bench press 270 pounds. He was a jock, and he hung with other jocks. Or at least, Diaz told the audience in Watson Auditorium this past fall, that’s what he thought he had to be.

Now a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Diaz stressed that four years of college helped him discover who he really was—a sensitive kid who loved storytelling. His book, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” was required reading for the incoming freshmen class
this summer. —LAURA FINALDI

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