My Commencement Speech To The UNC Greensboro Class Of 2018

My Commencement Speech To The UNC Greensboro Class Of 2018

Can't stop the feeling!
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I first would like to say congratulations, you did it! I feel like I can speak for most of us when I say that this day seemed like light years away when we first started our journey at UNC Greensboro. But through the ups and downs, late night study sessions-or maybe the late nights we should have been studying, the caffeine, the need to watch netflix for a couple hours because there is no way you could read one more scholarly article, and all the tears and smiles in between, we are all finally getting one of the most amazing and well earned pieces of paper ever.

I also want to take a moment to remember the high school and college students and even some of our very own spartans who were members of the class of 2018 but due to violence, sickness, and unforeseen circumstances, are not with us today. The degree we are all receiving is as much theres as it is our’s.

Class of 2018, think back to your first day at UNC Greensboro. Parents, friends, and family members, think back to move in day or you student’s first day of classes. Do you remember that feeling? The feeling of curiosity and complete and utter fear? The eagerness coupled with anxiety? I can remember it like it was yesterday. But now think about how you are feeling right now. The feeling of accomplishment, the excitement, the pure joy, the relief. Parents, family members, and friends, I’m sure you’re feeling proud, happy, and maybe still a little nervous for your students jump into adulthood. But I urge you all to hold on to that feeling, remember this moment, and take it all in. These feelings and emotions are important and they are shaping this moment just like they shaped the experiences you’ve had at UNCG.

We all came from different places and somehow magically ended up in Greensboro. And though we each had a unique and special journey that led us to this point, there are many feelings we all shared. The feeling of warmth and welcome when you stepped on campus the first time. The joy when you received your acceptance letter. Being overwhelmed when you were at orientation. The feeling you had right after you bombed your first test. The comfort when you made your first friend. The nerves when you had to give your first speech or presentation. The curiosity when you experienced your first Fried Chicken Wednesday. Feeling accepted by your peers and professors for being exactly who you are. Being overjoyed when you received a “class cancellation” email. The feeling of security when something bad happened in the world and in less than 24 hours you got a message from the school saying they cared about you and that student safety was their number one priority. The happiness when you got an A on your first paper. The satisfaction when you turned in that assignment at 11:58pm. The accomplishment when you finished your first year. The feeling of excitement every time you get a “You’ve got mail” email from the post office. The confidence once you finally knew where every building was. The eagerness when you applied to graduate. The butterflies when you picked up your cap and gown. Feeling annoyed when your family was taking forever to get ready this morning. Feeling your cheeks cramp from smiling in so many pictures. And probably the feeling of wanting this speech to be over.

I know you don’t know me and I don’t know all of you. But we are all Spartans. We are all sitting in these seats today because we were all fortunate enough to get an education at one of the most amazing universities in the country. Take a second to look at the people you’re sitting next to. You might know them or you might not. You could disagree on a million things. But one thing you more than likely have to agree on is that this school changed you. This school made you the person you are today. UNC Greensboro gave you feelings you’ve never experienced before. I hope it gave you memories that will last a lifetime. I hope it taught you lessons you’ll never have to re-learn. I hope it gave you at least one person that you know will be by your side for years to come. I hope it gave you a home.

UNCG molded me into a person that I am proud to be. And although sadness doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling to be closing this chapter in my life, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that myself and the rest of you will go out into the world spreading the Spartan Spirit and making the world better for us all. I am hopeful that the next generation of Spartan graduates will do the same. I am hopeful that the sweat, challenges, tears, road bumps, and full on mountains we all had to climb to get here were worth it. And I am hopeful that we will never forget the feelings. Congratulations class of 2018!

Cover Image Credit: UNCG

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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120417041415-education-graduation-cap-story-top.jpg

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Crossroads

Trying to figure out what to do in life.

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I never saw the crossroad

Where I could cross n' roam

Under an arch or dome. [1]

I just kept on the road

That was laid out,

Told to hold out

Till it pays out. [2]

Now I think its too late

Been walking too long,

Classes are all wrong

But masses too strong. [3]

So I follow with my head down

And chest up, succeeding cause

I'm too scared to fuck it up. [4]

But I have a need to lead,

Top-down and gears up

Leaving nothing to the dust.

But if I drop out, I'm a fuck up. [5]

Is it better to live and rust

Or drive till it busts

With trust you can find the way? [6]


[1] - Play on roam/Rome. Starts the poem by expressing the feeling of being trapped in my path in life. I felt like I never got the chance to figure out what I wanted to do.

[2] - I think a lot of it was I was following what people told me I should be doing.

[3] - I have a feeling that it is too late to change my course of life. I'm in a college for business, taking classes about business, and everyone around me wants to do business.

[4] - This is saying that even though I am not passionate about what I am doing I am still trying to succeed only because I'm scared of failing or quitting.

[5] - I want to leave and lead myself, do something where I'm not following but I don't know how to do that. This part starts a car reference, idk I've been watching Formula 1 on Netflix and its dope.

[6] - This is the question I've been asking myself, wondering if I should continue on with my path or follow my passion.

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