Gown in hand, graduation season is arriving sooner than anticipated. After all, it snowed a few weeks ago!

In some ways, I experience déjà vu daily. The sad, anxious, nervous, excited feelings remind me of two years ago when I was leaving college. Have I accumulated all of the knowledge necessary to be successful in my future endeavors? Have I lived out the mission of UST in my work and school life? Will I be able to continue to advance the common good in all that I hope to do post-graduation?

As I ponder these thoughts, I think about the challenges that come with writing final words to new graduates. I believe that my crowning moment will come if I ever am asked to give a commencement speech. I mean, the best and brightest impart their wisdom on the future leaders of the world. What more of an honor could one ask for?  So, although I’m no Stephen Colbert or Oprah Winfrey using this time and space to express some of my thoughts and wishes for the graduating class of 2011 … (P.S.: If you ever want to read amazing and inspirational speeches, Google/YouTube those two.)

In my favorite book, Dr. Seuss reminds us of Oh! The Places You’ll Go! In this great work, I realize how I can put chapters of my life into each page of the book (and for those of you familiar with the book, I got hung up in a prickle-ly perch for a while). Slowly, I discovered the importance of doing the things I love and living a balanced life. I discovered my own values and opinions and how I refuse to negotiate those. I remember thinking nothing could be better than college, and to this day I sometimes find myself comparing things that happen now to how they were when I was an undergrad. However, I figured out that I do not need to lose those things. Rather, I discovered the immense knowledge that I possess from the different paths I have taken.

As I said in my first post, the most valuable lesson I have learned over the past two years is from a very wise man and a former professor: “Leadership is continuous … internally derived and outwardly manifested.” Remember this when life presents challenges. Our UST education prepares us to be the future leaders of the world. We have the power to make huge changes. We need to learn how to become servant leaders, listening empathetically and gaining awareness of the needs of the local and global community. Do not aim for power or wealth, but find happiness in the relationships you maintain and what you give to others.

Create a bucket list of all the things you would like to do in the next five years. Join an adult kick ball league. Send a written thank-you note to someone every week. Bring someone flowers just because you can. Ask a grandparent or another elder about life when they were our age. Listen to the words of my good friend Conan: “All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t’ be cynical. I hate cynicism – it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.” Finally, enjoy each moment between now and graduation. Celebrate the completion of your last final exams. Take in the magnitude of graduation and recognize the significance of the milestone. Let others be proud of you too. Take lots of photos with friends, family, staff and faculty members who helped you get where you are today. Try not to fret about the future, but enjoy each second of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

“And will you succeed?” Dr. Suess asked. “Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed). Kid, you’ll move mountains!”

Thank you for accepting my words and giving me the opportunity to be a part of this blog. Thank you for allowing The Scroll to an open, honest dialogue of students, faculty, and staff members reflecting upon the state of UST and our larger community.  It’s been a blast!