When I address graduating seniors at commencement ceremonies, I always make sure to tell them this: While they may be feeling apprehensive about moving on to a new stage in their lives, I don’t share in their trepidation.
When I say that, I’m not downplaying their fears of a future yet to be revealed. Rather, I want them to know that—despite any angst they may be feeling as they leap into a new life—I have every confidence that they will succeed.
I feel assured that our students have been prepared through their coursework, their Open Lab learning, their leadership experiences, their out-of-class activities, and the connections they have made during their time at Behrend.
Not that I need further confirmation of our students’ bright prospects, but if I did, I could look no further than the profiles of graduating seniors that we publish each spring on our Behrend Blog.
There, you’ll meet a host of young people who exemplify our Vision of a Behrend Graduate—individuals who have learned, to quote our vision, “to build opportunities out of challenges, competence out of curiosity, and proficiency out of potential.” They speak about taking responsibility, stretching yourself, and living intentionally.
In her advice to first-year students, MollyAnne Lloyd says, “You are the only one responsible for your own success. Own it and take pride in what you do because you are the only one who can make your dreams come true.”
Savannah Carr weighs in with, “I define what makes me successful, and I define what is a good life. So I try to wake up every day grateful for the opportunities I have been given and try to be a better person than I was yesterday.”
What might be most refreshing is the idea resonating throughout the students’ profiles of the importance of creating a life that has meaning for oneself—and for others.
As Lydia Glenn put it, “I think a good life is finding something you’re passionate about and turning it into a career. I also believe that everyone should strive to make the world a better place and use their brains and skills for good.” For Seth Myers, the definition of a good life is straightforward enough: “Enjoying what you do while having a positive impact on others in some way or another.”
As we send another class of graduates out in the world, it is gratifying to consider the part that Penn State Behrend has played in shaping their futures—and a reminder of our responsibility to future generations of Behrend students.
Chancellor Ralph Ford