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When I came to Manchester, I had no idea what was in store for me. My first year here, I can remember putting a notecard on the door inspired by a country song that many of you have probably heard. The song says, “100 years goes faster than you think. Don’t blink.” Well, as far as I can tell, that country song is absolutely right.
My “educational experience” has been quite the journey. If you’re laughing, you know what I mean. I can’t begin to tell you all of the things I’ve learned. But I can give a few examples. As an astute Manchester student, I’ve learned that:
But aside from these revelations, I’ve also learned a few other things. I’ve learned about myself, and I’ve learned a little bit more about the world. I think one of the most important things that I’ve gained on this journey is perspective. The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve found there is to learn. It’s a vicious cycle.
My fellow classmates, I hope as you move on to the next part of your journey, you don’t simply look back to this time as the place and time when you got your degree. I hope that you can look back and say that, despite some late nights, difficult conversations, and challenging ideas, you have grown. I know I have.
And I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for teaching me. I want to thank our professors, who gave of their time – not only in official capacities – but often off the clock, to teach us things that went far beyond the textbooks. I want to thank the Manchester faculty and staff who served us for our time here – especially those of you who worked in the kitchen – mostly because I really like food.
I want to thank each of my friends that supported me and have shared some great times. And thanks to each of you who I’ve ever shared conversation with, said hi to, or even just smiled at.
Thanks to those of you in the community who have opened your homes and hearts to us, and have cooked for us, told us stories, given a listening ear, and prayed for us. And parents, we couldn’t have done this without you – and that’s the least I can say. So, to all of you who have helped to make this experience so meaningful, thank you very much.
In addition to the support I have received from the people around me, one thing that has been central in my life since before college and is still important to me today is my faith in God. I am confident that God has a plan for my life, and that his love is unfailing and has no bounds, and that I can experience that and share it with others. I pray that you can share in the same joy.
A Bible verse that has been on my mind lately as I am about to enter a new phase of life is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
My friends, as you continue on into the next part of your journey, I encourage you to take that verse to heart. We don’t always understand where we are headed, and sometimes it might seem as though we are jumping out into thin air with nothing to hold on to. But during those times of uncertainty, I challenge you to make the most of the ride. The journey is the destination. So no matter what you do, or how uncertain your future may seem, embrace the moments.
Humble yourself and be willing to serve others, but also be ready to learn from them. Be skeptical but not cynical, open but not gullible. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop living. Don’t stop loving. And enjoy the ride! Thank you.
May 17, 2015