Marcus Bouterse’s Commencement Remarks
As I observe the world our graduating class will soon enter, I can't help but notice the existence of an ever-growing polarization. Our country is completely divided politically, economically, socially, and the list just keeps going on and on. This undoubtedly leaves our generation with the burden to piece this puzzle that is our country back together. But I believe our college education has equipped us to do so. If I have learned anything from my studies, it would be that there is always more to learn. And that has liberated me from the closed mindedness that I once entered college with.
My experiences here have made me appreciate the opportunity we as students are given with our education. I would like to share with you a quick personal story of mine. I first enrolled at UW-Parkside almost 15 years ago. Like many incoming freshman, I started my first semester with little direction or desire. My poor perspective on education quickly gave way to academic failure. After nearly two semesters, I was suspended as a student and left this university with a nearly nonexistent GPA and with almost no intentions of ever returning.
Luckily, after this, I was able to find a stable and well paying job and I began a poster life. After numerous years in the work force, I began to realize that my perspective on life started to change. No matter the hours I put in or the money that I earned, neither were sound investments. It dawned upon me that one of the best investments someone can make in their life is education. This suddenly brought me to a crossroads in my life. Even though it was not the easier path, I chose to retrace my steps and return to school.
After the process of some paperwork and a little bit of convincing on my part, they actually allowed me to come back here to Parkside. I admit, the first few semesters were not that easy. A lot had changed since I left. But soon enough I was able to get back on my feet. I'm very proud to say that with hard work and a new perspective, I am on my way to Marquette for graduate school armed with an undergraduate degree from UW-Parkside.
You may be wondering why I shared this story with you. I guess I just wanted to show you how important a new perspective can be. Without it, I wouldn't be standing in front of you today. Yes, sometimes things are against you and sometime things get complicated. But our college education has prepared us to think outside the box and meet the challenges head on.So, in closing, please keep asking questions, always stay engaged, and don't get afraid to take the road less traveled.