Elizabeth Jalette '23 Addresses Her Fellow Graduates at 2022 Commencement
The undergraduate student speaker encouraged her classmates to celebrate their achievements and discussed the world of possibilities that awaits them.
Class of 2023, wow. Here we are. I’d like to spend this time telling you a story. In fact, “it’s the oldest story in the world, one day you’re 17 and planning for someday, then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today, then someday is yesterday, and this is your life." At least, that’s how Nathan Scott describes it.
This story begins a few years back, with Chapter One: Our Journeys As First-Years. After graduating from high school, our eyes were set on the next adventure: Stonehill College. We began with the chaos of Orientation and navigating a brand-new campus. Before we knew it, it was move-in day. Quickly, friends were made in the dorms. Commuters made their second home on campus, we discovered Ace’s Place, clubs, Volunteer Fridays, and we filled our schedules to the brim with making the most of what Stonehill had to offer. And just when we finally had it figured out, the rug was ripped out from under us, and our world looked so different. Roommates were suddenly hundreds of miles apart, learning over zoom, and desperately trying to stay connected with hours upon hours of scrolling on TikTok.
This brings us to Chapter 2: College, Pandemic Edition. Our sophomore year was like no other. Some of us were forced to learn online from our childhood bedrooms, others on campus, but we were all staring at the same black squares on a screen listening to our professors. Gone were the days of sporting events, dance recitals, school plays, and seeing the smiles of our peers. However, these were the days of protecting others, of standing up for what we believe in, of fighting for equity, sitting in at the Quad, flooding social media with our beliefs, and seeking support. As the weather got warmer, our future looked brighter, and we were off for our summer break. We filled our summer days with internships, researching for SURE, working on campus, and taking a break from it all.
Just in time to come back for Chapter 3: The Return to “Normalcy.” Stonehill seemed to be making its comeback. Skyhawk Madness was back and better, Brother Mike’s was lively, clubs were meeting, HOPE was resumed, and campus felt full of life again. We finally got our spring break, and people traveled far and wide, making the most of every moment. We could finally be together, to celebrate championships and accomplishments. I remember standing at graduation last year thinking to myself, “we have so much time left”.
But I blinked and Chapter Four: The year We Finally Had It All, was here. Some of us got the chance to study abroad, but for the rest of us tailgating was in full swing. We made sure every early morning practice, commute to school, late night of studying, and drop of coffee was worth it. We took advantage of every weekend, every event, admired our sunsets, supported our teams, and made the most of every moment. From RUCKUS to the Christmas tree lighting to late nights of gaming to retreats to Yung Gravy himself, we were sure to get our fill.
And now, here we are, at our graduation, the end of the story. A story full of novelty, triumph, chaos, and resilience. Our Stonehill story. The story of the Class of 2023. I think we often overlook how much it took for each of us to get to this exact moment. I invite you to celebrate the accomplishments you worked to achieve, and to thank those that helped us get here. To the friends, family, loved ones, faculty, and staff here and afar, thank you for your endless love and support throughout our lives, especially these last four years. We could not have done it without you.
This may be the ending to our Stonehill story, but this is the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities. For some of us, we may be going back to school, we may be working at a new company, and we may not know what we want to do quite yet. No matter where your new story starts, there is no doubt it will be full of so many wonderful chapters.
Nathan Scott said it best when he said, “it’s the oldest story in the world, one day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. Then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today, and then someday is yesterday, and this is your life.” My fellow Skyhawks, we’ve made it to someday, the end of one story, but we have so many more somedays and stories to go. Congratulations to each of you and cheers to all the somedays to come.