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Farewell and Congratulations Class of 2014.

Words of Inspiration for the Graduates

Class of 2014
Four years ago they entered the College of Optometry with the aspiration to become a doctor. Perhaps they were a little scared, slightly unprepared, and most of all filled with the goal of becoming an optometrist.

It has been a journey. An adventure. A challenge.  A learning Experience.

Today the journey ends for the class of 2014.  In the Touhill Performing Arts Building 39 members of the Class of 2014 will walk across the stage and become what each of them have worked hard for the last four years.

As you prepare for the next journey in life, take a moment to remember the steps that it took to get you where you are at this very moment and look forward to the new opportunities that await.

On graduation day your future will become a new horizon and new adventures await you. Take a moment to enjoy it and for one moment in time relax before preparing for your next journey in life.

Savor graduation day.  

This is your chance to look back at your educational journey and reflect on the many goals and dreams you have set for yourself.  Your degree will serve as your key to unlocking new doors in life.
The future is yours. The choices you will make may or may not impact the world as a whole, but you need to remember you have the power to make anything possible. Goals are like hurdles on the track field: You have to learn to jump over them and learn not to walk around them. It is almost certain that you will knock some of these hurdles down while trying to achieve your goals, but never consider that a failure.  Remember that not a single famous or successful person has ever achieved every goal without error.  You just have to believe in yourself and what you really want from life. 

Before you depart the campus—take one last look at a place you have spent much of your time and remember what got you to where you are today. When you begin the walk across the stage and your name is called—Walk proudly, head held high, smile, and keep in mind of all those people who have been influential in making this very moment possible.  For the first time, you will be called Doctor.  

What a nice ring that simple word, "Doctor" it has to it, right?   

Listen closely to the graduation speech and make it a point to walk away with one tidbit of the speech. Graduation day marks the end of your class and closes the door on your journey through college—your journey is now on a new level and new goals, aspirations, and dreams are set to be fulfilled.

Here you are at a moment in your life that for some of you has been a challenge to achieve. The late night studying, the cramming for a test, clubs, work and endless hours of class time has finally paid off.  The dedication you have to reach this achievement had to come from one place--within yourself. Remember—college is a choice, not a mandate. 

Think about the drive that kept you coming back even when you couldn’t see the value in some of the courses.  Think about those who are proud of your accomplishments and then look proudly at your future. 

Your future truly is open.  Roadblocks may occur, but if you work hard things will pay off.  We can look at the statistics and wonder what your future really holds, but you can be your own statistic. You can set the precedent for your own destiny.  Don’t be afraid to make new paths in uncharted lands.  

Perhaps one of the greatest values you earned while in optometry school wasn't just the education, but the relationships and the enlargement of your family over the past four years.  As you venture into the world with your new career in hand—the value of your relationships will likely far outweigh any degree.   

Think back to that moment when you first began optometry school and you were surrounded by new faces—did you ever imagine you would become close? As the years progressed and you completed a year of school--the relationships became stronger and tighter amongst each of you—of course for some the relationships were at different levels, but I bet you could stop and think—if something happened, I know my classmates would be there for me, right?   

Sitting in the present and dressed in your cap and gown take a moment to look at each other and think about where each of you will be going after graduation. Think about a single moment with each of your classmates. What will you remember about them and what will they remember about you?  Take a moment and get lost in the thoughts of the last four years and how your life has been forever transformed--better or worse you are now a different person to some extent.    

Remember that graduation is merely a concept and in real life you graduate everyday.  The process of graduation is one that goes on until the last day of life—when you grasp this notion you will be able to make a difference in yourself and in the world.

Dr. Seuss said it best in his book, “Oh the places you will go” Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know.

The words of Dr. Suess may seem somewhat silly and childlike, but think about them for a moment and regress yourself back to the days of your childhood when you said, “When I grow up I want to be…” 

Ask yourself, Did become that person?  

Congratulations Graduates!!!  Now onto bigger things in your life.   

Written by:  Nick Palisch
Photo by:  Janice White


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