A Tassel For Your Thoughts


As it gets closer to graduation, many members of my family have been forwarding other commencement speeches from universities that have already released their Class of 2012 into the world.

Out of the many shared, two authors’ speeches deeply touched my heart and resonated with me: the late Marina Keegan, and Texas A&M alumnus Neal Boortz. Keegan’s speech was written for a special commencement edition of the Yale Daily News and was tragically killed in a car accident the weekend after graduation; and Boortz is a radio talk show host that had a few words he needed to say. Regardless of their situations, their words are exceptionally genuine and still ring quite true.

Keegan, like many student speakers, talked about her experience at Yale and her sentiments about graduating memories in such an eloquent way that every individual listening to it can see his or herself in that same position. I highly recommend reading this speech all the way through because there are definite moments and sentiments that I know all of us can relate to. Although there’s a slight melancholy undertone, her words still really hit home for me:

“But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move…We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense…that it is somehow too late…That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement…What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over…The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

To quickly sum up Boortz’s speech, he was brutally honest about the working world, the learning curve, public education and the newfound relationship graduates will be starting with the government. It’s a long read and he kind of gets on his soapbox about the government, it’s definitely worth a once over. All of us have been saying how happy we are to be done with school, but Boortz reminds us that our learning doesn’t end here:

“Just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn’t mean the learning is over. When [handed] my private pilot’s license many years ago, [I was told], ‘Here, this is your ticket to learn.’ The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun…”

Although there are many more takeaways from Boortz’s speech, I wanted to leave you with that. Our time at UofO has bitter sweetly come to an end and the Portland Senior Experience has prepared us well, I urge you to always stay curious, stay passionate and don’t ever lose your sense of wonder.

Marcie Giovannoni

SOJC Class 2012 & Grad Cap

Yet to be decorated but we’ll be donning these before we know it!

Marcie Giovannoni

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About Complex Visuals

Blogging newbie. PR professional in-training. Award-winning photographer. Graduating from UofOregon in June 2012.
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9 Responses to A Tassel For Your Thoughts

  1. PDXSX says:

    Good post, Marcie. Very inspiring!

    ~J

  2. agavette says:

    I try to remind myself of the things that Keegan said in her speech. It’s kind of eery that she was talking about how it’s not too late to have a new beginning, and that we’re so young and have a lot of life left in us, since she died shortly after. I think we can learn from her story that although we have a lot of potential in us, we should definitely try to make the most of what we are doing day by day, and do something that is truly meaningful to us–even in small ways. I’m definitely going to read these speeches through when I get a chance! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. wilsonemily says:

    Great post; and I think it sums up the sentiments of all us Portland Senior Experiencers. We’re definitely at the launching point for the next step in our lives and Keegan is right; we are young and we have the ability to do whatever we set our minds to. Graduating is an end and a beginning; one chapter in our life closes and the next one is just starting! Thanks for the uplifting post; I think a lot of us will have it running through our minds come graduation!

  4. shannonsloan says:

    First of all, I love the title of this post. Those were great excerpts, very inspiring. In some ways it feels like the end, but it really isn’t. We are young, we have our whole lives ahead of us and we have a received an excellent education. Going forward I will do my best to stay curious, passionate and I truly hope I never lose my sense of wonder. It’s been wonderful working with you this term, I know the future holds great things for you!

  5. zolfaghari says:

    Beautifully written, Marcie! It’s still such an odd mix of feelings having to accept that our days as students is coming to an end. Your post puts great insight on how to see this as just another step towards new opportunities, just as going to college was. This is really a time where we can put our full potential to use. We’ve been through so much and learned a great deal. We have the tools to make something of ourselves and it’s up to us to decide what we do with them. “Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder.” Perfect.

  6. michelletag says:

    That is so true that this is still the beginning. And, we are YOUNG! These speeches are great reminders of what we have yet to learn. I definitely want to continue to learn after college. It’s just going to be a different kind of learning, like life lessons or it could be us actually picking up an educational book on our own, either way I’m looking forward to my future! Thanks for your post Marcie and congrats!

    PS Have you listened to the song “I Hope You Dance” by Leann Womack? I love that song. The line “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder” is in it 🙂

  7. Melancholy. That has kind of become my word for the week. It’s bitter sweet to get ready to conclude my adventures as an intern. I’m finally feeling comfortable in the office. I get the sense that my co-workers are starting to feel the same way. The dynamic is getting good, and now it’s time for me to depart. I said good-bye to my morning ladies at the gym I joined down here. It was kind of representative of my overall experience. I hadn’t realized the little community I was already starting to build in just a few short months. So, I agree with you sentiments, Shannon. We’re leaving this community of academia and university life to build our own communities elsewhere, (or maybe in Eugene). It feels sad and refreshing all at the same time. I don’t want to go yet, but I know I’m ready.

  8. kingram10 says:

    Wow Marcie! Thank you for this. I think I needed a little bit of graduation sentiment in my life. Not living in Eugene during graduation has somehow made a lot of this really surreal to me. I feel as though I am so far removed from the University of Oregon that I’m not sure where I fit into this whole graduation thing! Although Marina Keegan’s story is very tragic, her words really spoke to me. I’m graduating college, but at any point I can change my life, take a different direction, or make a create a whole new world for myself. Thanks Marcie!

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