As my brother begins his college search, it makes me think back to the time when I was deciding which college to attend. Some of my reasons seem arbitrary now, and I am grateful that I ended up at a place that suits me so well. The college selection process was stressful because you were competing against so many strong students. But UR is a good school, and all of us did good work to be accepted.
Now we’re leaving college, and I’m impressed by how many of my friends are going on to do really great things. People are leaving here to go to some of the top law schools, medical schools and doctoral programs in the nation. These are people who will leave these programs and do important things with their lives. But it is also imperative that we remember the important things that these people have done while they were here at UR.
The students who you are graduating with today are some of the people that have made our experiences at college what they have been. Without them, all of our college experiences would have been drastically different.
Think about the members of UR’s many cultural groups who have worked so hard to share with us their culture and helped broaden our own boundaries. There are community groups, who have stepped beyond the university’s walls to do something good for the Rochester community while they lived within it.
Some of the people graduating today were teaching assistants who patiently explained to you the answers to all your questions when you were too intimidated to ask the professor.
Other graduates, like myself, worked on the Campus Times to provide you with information about important campus events and administrative decisions. Seniors were a part of the much-maligned student government, working to better your UR experience in the best ways they knew how. Members of fraternities and sororities have provided community and entertainment for many of us. Your fellow graduates make up the Senior Class Council, and have given you a year of events at which to make a lifetime of memories.
All of the students who are graduating today were accepted to UR because they had something important to offer. And all of the students graduating today did offer some part of themselves to UR, and have made our four year’s worth of experiences what they were. They did not wait for others to mold their college experiences, but went out and did it themselves.
The most important thing I will take away from my college years is the realization that you can’t wait to make your mark on the world. All of us have the ability to shape the world around us, right now. We shouldn’t wait until we have more experience, more education or another degree to go out and use it.
Learn from the people around you, and begin today what you hope to accomplish tomorrow.
DeSantis can be reached at email@example.com.