This year I have selected the “square point blade shovel with ice pick handle.” While not much is known about this shovel, it is a square point blade shovel with a removable handle that has an ice pick on one end. Truly, a multi-purpose device that also poses some interesting challenges to use.  

After looking through all of the shovels, this one stood out to me because of our unique college experience, with our first year being “axed” due to COVID. All of the 783 shovels are in fact different in their own way, just like each and every one of us, but this can be applied to each class that comes through Stonehill. However, for the Class of 2023, we have experienced a different college journey than most. 

Like the users of this shovel, we have had interesting tools to challenge expectations and create change. While so many curves were thrown into our college experience, each and every one of you faced those challenges with the tools you had. I hope you all take these learning experiences with you throughout our final year and into your post-grad experience!  

From having a normal first semester, to a quick turnaround for remote learning, to hybrid, and now to entering our senior year in the blink of an eye, what a time. As we embark on many last firsts, I would like to remind you of a quote Sue Monk Kidd, an American writer said: “Go make your big beautiful dent, and as you do so come down on the side of boldness. If you err, may it be for too much audacity, and not too little. For you really are enough. You have untold strengths and resources inside. You have your glorious self."  

To the first-years, four years flies by, so I encourage you to make your beautiful dents and impressions in the world around you, explore who you are, and take risks - you never know what you will find. 

To my fellow seniors, take this incredible year to enjoy learning about yourself: your passions, your strengths, your everything. Take this year to find you. I will wrap up with the words of Brene Brown, "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are." So, be authentically you and continue to grow!