I am terrible at saying goodbye. Yet, the time has come.
Congratulations and a big thank you to four of my section editors who have graduated with me today: Jemi Jacob (Hunter ’13), Simmi Kaur (Hunter ’13), Ayelet Parness (Hunter ’13), and Stefanie Tozzi (Staten Island ’13).
I would like to introduce the Messenger’s newest Co-Editors in Chief — Rahul Bhasin (Hunter ’14) and Chrisinda Lynch (CCNY ’15). Thank you to Lisa Brundage, Dr. Ugoretz, and Drew Adair, as well as the rest of the Macaulay administration for allowing me to create it, even though we didn’t know how it would be received.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has ever written for or read the Messenger — you have made it worthwhile.
To my fellow graduates — best of luck with all of your endeavors. No matter where you go or what you do, I will always be proud to have been a part of your college experience. I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you achieve.
To students — you will hear this time and time again: your four years as an undergrad will end before you know it, but there is plenty of time to explore and grow within that time. Use it well. Having seen the strides you have made, whether with academic accolades, improving student life, or simply supporting one another, I am confident that you will make Macaulay a better place than you have found it.
In the words of A.A Milne: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” This simple sentiment embodies all of my feelings. As I embark on a new chapter, a new challenge, and move to a new city, I realize how difficult it is for me to leave. While I am terrified about moving on, I know that I have to; I did not go to Macaulay to stay in the same place. The time has come to step aside, and watch all of you prepare to fly.
I had the honor to write an essay for the Commencement program; I believe it captures my experience at Macaulay better than anything I could write at this time, so I would like to share it with all of you now:
The quintessential idea of college, as presented to us as freshmen – fly from the nest, meet people from different ends of the earth, and transform into adults. Not just any adult: a scholar, a leader, adventurer, an upstanding citizen, fearless, daring…take the reigns and soar. Commencement would be the culmination of our undergraduate career and we will have become all of these things.
These expectations can be overwhelming (and to some, exciting) to an 18-year old. Could we dare to be daring? Laugh in the face of fear? Could we lead when perhaps we had felt like a follower for so long? Most importantly, could we become all that college entailed – a scholar, leader, adventurer, and upstanding citizen – if it meant changing traits and quirks we carried into their polar opposites?
At another institution, that may be the formula to success, but not at Macaulay. Macaulay offered a nurturing environment ideal for self-exploration. We were encouraged to pursue our own, unique, academic and professional experiment. Trial and error taught us what ignited our passions or it simply let the air out of our tires. Our time at Macaulay has gifted us with many experiences and lessons. It allowed us to make new friends with different backgrounds and intellectual passions. It allowed us to travel to far off lands across oceans and immerse ourselves in unfamiliar cultures. It took us to different institutions to study leadership and service along with the sharpest minds in the country.
Best of all, our time at Macaulay allowed us to realize we could be a scholar, a leader, and an honorable citizen…without changing the core of who we are. We have not “evolved” into new people. We were not hesitant, but thoughtful. We were not reserved, but composed. And for us wallflowers, we are leaders, we just lead with stealth, quietly changing the world.
Our accomplishments were akin to ascending Mt. Everest for these achievements were our Everests to climb. Yet, we did not do it alone. Through the support of the Macaulay community, we were able to grow into our own and embrace all that makes us who we are.
In his musings about the cosmos, Carl Sagan states, “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.” Our friends, families, peers, and advisors have shown us how our accomplishments are a reflection of who we are – who we always were. We didn’t grow into a new people; rather our parts were re-assembled differently.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Congratulations to the Class of 2013!