University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - Commencement

Julian Golfarini, Class of 2012, President of the Student Government Association

Julian Golfarini

Friends, Family, faculty, staff, administrators and most importantly, the Class of 2012, good morning.

I was asked to write a greeting for all of you this morning. So I’d like to welcome all of you to one of those big days in our lives, whether you’re here for your family or friend, or if you just like to sit still for long periods of time, I’d like to thank you for coming to our graduation ceremony.

Un abrazo especial para toda mi familia que vino, algunos desde muy lejos.
(Translation) A special thanks to my family, some of whom had to travel from very far away to be here today.

So, CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES, You’re here! We made it!!

No doubt that many of us are scared right now, uncomfortable with what the future may bring.

I’d like you to keep in mind that some never have the chance to go to school; my grandfather who is here all the way from Venezuela… never had the chance to go to University. My nana, Gladis, didn’t even get to finish high school. Don’t forget that some would give up everything to be where we are today, so be proud and don’t take it lightly. Enjoy what we have accomplished and where we are.

You should all know exactly how fortunate we are… As of last year only 469 Million people on earth have a college degree. That’s 6.7% of Seven Billion, only SIX percent.

That puts all of us in elite company, and I hope that we all can use all the knowledge and experience learned here to make the world a better place and improve society as a whole.

Remember those who have helped us get to this day, whether it is your friends who supported you through your time here, your family that is and will always be with you, or any faculty and staff with whom you’ve built relationships over these last few years.

Don't forget to thank them. I bet most of them like chocolate, or beer.

Mark Twain once said: “I have never let schooling get in the way of my education.”

When we look back at school (and I’m sure parents won’t want to hear this), understand that what we’ve learned in class is likely what we’ll remember least about our time here. It is our friends, clubs, and experiences that will stay with us for the longest time. We’ll remember these moments and relationships most when thinking about our time here at this wonderful place.

These personal relationships will prove to be one of the key traits of our happiness. Make sure that you tell the people you love and care about that you feel that way, as it just makes the world a better place.

Have these last few years made you a better person? Have you learned about yourself? Have you made lasting connections here? I know that we all have, and it is the answers to these questions that we should keep with us moving forward.

We have unfortunately inherited a world full of adversity. I have faith that what we have learned and experienced here will help in our efforts to make it better. In the words of Ghandi: “You must be the change you would like to see in the world.”

Going in to the ‘real world’ is going to be tough. Society is facing challenges, and so will we. However, I know that the experience we’ve gained here will help us through them. Don’t be afraid to take chances, try new things, make a fun and rewarding life for yourself. You might fail, but that’ll make you stronger and wiser. It’s my opinion that we all have luck on our sides…

like John Dewey said: “Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.”

Remember that even though we are regularly measured only through our work and achievements, life isn’t all work. We generally place more value on work over relationships and I only ask that you remember that they are equal.

Let’s make sure that there is balance in our lives; sure I want us all to be wildly successful in what we do. However, I also hope that we all get to live happy and fulfilling lives and your job is only one of the factors in that.

I want to end by telling you something that you need to know, but likely have already heard.

Life is short.

Make sure that you take advantage of it. Like I mentioned before, we are all in a great position to do wonderful things in this world. I only ask that you don’t live in the past, and not too far into the future.

Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee, and I encourage us to all try and live with that in the forefront of our thoughts.

Make sure to get the most out of this life, because as corny as it may be… ‘The Motto’ famously states: “You Only Live Once.” (YOLO!!!)

So, with that small nugget of advice, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Finally, I want you all to know how proud I am of all of us and to how happy I am to be here celebrating this day with all of you.

Years from now, you (hopefully) won’t remember anything that I’ve said but you will take with you all the knowledge gained, memories and friendships made here at UVM.

I’d now like to quote His Airness Michael Jordan:

“If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

After these years of Studies and other Honest Pursuits I have no doubt that we are all ready and well equipped for anything life might throw at us.

Cheers to the class of 2012!
Congratulations and Good luck to all of you!

Last modified June 08 2012 12:37 PM

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