Julie Evans’ 2012 Winter Commencement Speech
University of Wisconsin-Parkside student Julie Evans'
2012 Winter Commencement Speech
I would like to welcome everybody that is part of the December 2012 graduating class, as well as the parents, relatives, friends, professors and administrators who helped get us here and are in attendance today.
I've been asked to get up here and say a few words about this special occasion and what today means. What does today mean? Well, I'll be able to tell you for sure when it's tomorrow and today is over. But here are a few things I've come up with so far:
Today is our day of commencement, we enter into the "real world" that so many of us have been talking about for four years. Well, in some cases, five, six, seven years. But, it's not about how long it took us to get to today; it's about the lessons we've learned and connections we've made that have prepared us for tomorrow.
Today is the day when we look back on what we've accomplished over the past several years. I know how much we can accomplish in one night- especially when a paper is due the next day and you haven't started the rough draft yet. I know how much we can accomplish in one week, especially during final exams when you're cramming an entire semester's worth of lessons. We tell ourselves 'we'll never do that again,' until next final exam week rolls around and we're living off of cookies and coffee in the library yet again.
College spans over a large enough chunk of time during some of our most formative years. We might look different, act different, and even think different. But, thanks to this university, we change for the better. We use all of our skills and become people who have courage to walk out those doors and say "bring it on!"
Today, we say "didn't we just do this like 4 years ago?" At our last graduation, we had some apprehension and fear for the future while acknowledging that we were going to miss some of our old friends and classmates. Today we have that same feeling: the bittersweet combination of nostalgia and excitement that comes when one journeys ends and another begins.
Today, we acknowledge that while the diploma we receive is an important milestone in our lives and an achievement that will stick with us wherever we go, the diploma is a large piece of a larger puzzle. The world beyond college will be another lesson in making adjustments, making new friends, and adapting to different demands. We'll have to learn how to deal with impatient and nagging bosses or lazy and incompetent colleagues. But, that's the "real world," bro, that we're all so excited to be a part of, right? But honestly, if there weren't any challenges out there to overcome, there'd never be any reason to be proud. If there weren't any fears to conquer, we'd never know how to trust ourselves even in our moments of self-doubt.
Today we realize education isn't only about the classes you've attended and the grades you've received- it's the experience you had along the way that helped shape our character, our attitude, and our goals. We should be confident in our University of Wisconsin-Parkside education. You should be proud of the person sitting here today, and know that your hard work has paid off.
To answer the question of what today means, it means three things: today is the day we embrace our future opportunities, promise to make ourselves as good as we can be, and pursue our dreams.
Today, we are University of Wisconsin-Parkside graduates, confident in our abilities, and excited for our future success.Thank you, and congratulation to all the graduates. We did it!