Once again, the Jolly Librarian is stunned to find that no college has requested her wisdom for a commencement address. So once again, she will share her feelings with the world on this blog:
I have a certificate stating that I have worked at this college for almost as long as I have been an adult. Besides part-time jobs, my only other professional employment was four years teaching at a Catholic school. I came to NSCC thinking I would stay three or four years, earn my doctorate, and move on. I did earn my doctorate, but I’m still here. Mainly because I am proud of the community college mission.
Each year, as I watch the graduates walk across the stage, I see those who were in the library every week and others who were regulars in the Learning Center working with our tutors. I have witnessed ESL students’ struggles as they mastered a new language and culture. I’ve seen older students insecure about their inability to compete with younger people and then become progressively confident. And some I’ll see again later on their Facebook pages when they celebrate graduating from universities, getting jobs in their fields, and/or choosing to go for advanced degrees. It is a good feeling.
Each of you made a commitment to enter college, and each of you fulfilled it. That is a huge accomplishment. You faced your hurdles, both external and internal, and persevered. Take time to celebrate and relish this moment!
My wishes for you as you take the next step in life are simple, but not necessarily easy. I hope you
- continue learning. Whether or not, you continue your formal education, take opportunities to keep learning. There are, of course, practical reasons for this. Job requirements are always changing, and you have to keep learning to be relevant. But beyond that, I hope we at NSCC have instilled in you a love of learning, of always wanting to stretch yourself a little more.
- take responsibility for your own happiness. Take it from someone who has too often allowed herself to be blown around by the whims of others. You can spend time being angry and upset about the unfairness of life.Or you can change your circumstances. Or you can change your attitude. Continuing to be unhappy in an attempt to punish others never works. And it can eat up way too much of your life.
- will always “be of use.” Never pass up a chance to make someone’s life a little easier, no matter how small it seems. Many of us grow up wanting to be heroes, the ones who race into burning buildings to rescue crying babies. Even if such heroism is never asked of us, every day presents an opportunity to do something to make our part of the world a little better if we only look for it.
- do your research (What else could you expect from the Jolly Librarian?) We are inundated with bits and bytes of information each day, a good deal of it wrong. When reading the latest diatribe against a politician, the handling of an event, or a policy, consider if you are being presented with all the facts. Take a moment to check things out before you take a position. (You know we taught you how.)
Congratulations, graduates! This is your day. Enjoy it.