SUNY Schenectady Commencement Speech

Written
May 27, 2020
Degree Given
June 29, 2020
a picture of the SUNY Schenectady Elston Hall entrance facing interstate 890 by the Daily Gazette My journey to this point in time began under the worst of circumstances. My life was in shambles, I was full of myself, I had low expectations and a feeble understanding of the world I was trying to outsmart. I was compelled to face this reality in one of the worst possible ways, but I realized even then that this was an opportunity to remake myself. It wasn't enough to blame others for events I played a significant role in.
After thirty-five months and 25 days, someone in the City of Schenectady gave me a chance where I otherwise wouldn't have had one. I found financial refuge in a community that I could actually save money and afford rent in, and I found emotional refuge in a region that worked hard to make me aware of the errors in my ways. I'm eternally thankful that you did not give up on me.
Resuming my classes was not enough for me to feel satisifed with the progress I had made up to Fall 2018. I felt it necessary to analyze where I went wrong at prior institutions, and implemented the appropriate "green binder ideals" that allowed me to plan for and avoid the high risk situations that put me in the hot seat to begin with. This meant being aware of my bias, trying to be a good listener and understanding the importance of prioritizing wholesome relationships over fleeting lust, even if the former took longer to arrive.
I strove to do as best I could in a way that ensured my success while not interfering with the success of others. I paid attention to the details in my courses, sought my classmates out for feedback and was receptive to the feedback they provided me about both my work and my mannerisms. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you need help with it, and by being less hesitant when asking, I was able to convince my ego to take a back seat.
As I accept this Associates In Applied Sciences, I want to thank those who did not lose faith in me, the people who reminded me of the work that needed to be done, and the friends and family who lent a willing ear during my darkest hours. My ego tells me I pulled this off, but my heart tells me I could not have done this without you.

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