Elena Painchaud's Commencement Speech

Saturday, May 17, 2008
SNHU Communications Office

Text:

Welcome graduates, faculty, family and friends. Today every graduate is here for the same reason, but not all of us took the same path to get here. Some took a fast track on their way to a degree while others took time to find themselves and their ambitions before going forward in school. Whether we are getting an associate or bachelor’s, a master’s or doctorate, each one of us has a story. Some of us knew exactly where we were headed. There was a plan for it all. Others simply came and made a plan along their way. And today we all sit looking forward at endless possibility. For some this day came all too soon, and for others it took a lifetime to arrive.

And now here is it, full of boundless opportunity.  Each one of us is on top of the world, with all of these great ambitions. After today we will go off, leaving college behind. It’s a bit nerve–racking but very exciting. We are off to pursue our dreams, wherever it is they may take us. We know it might not be an easy road. We may come to find someday that our dreams are perched on top of a ladder that seems so very far out of reach. And perhaps we will come across someone who tells us that we can’t reach those dreams. And maybe we’ll question ourselves and wonder if we can. The most important thing to remember is, the only thing standing between you and the top of the ladder is the ladder. We’ve been told to believe in ourselves and that we can do anything. But some of us might not believe that. Some think that they won’t be able to reach those heights. And some of us may feel that we aren’t strong enough or we don’t have what it takes to succeed in pursuing our dreams.

Aren’t strong enough? Just think of everything you had to go through to get to today. Not just the credits you had to gain but everything beyond that. Now don’t get me wrong: Sometimes classes were pretty difficult to sit through. But there was much more we had to overcome than 75 minutes of a lecture.  We made it through all-nighters, holding down full-time jobs, raising families. We made it through balancing home and school, semesters abroad, sports teams. We made it through nights we felt alive and the mistakes that we’ve made along the way. We’ve been broken and we’ve been winners. We’ve been through hell and back again and yet here we are. We’ve lost people we loved and found wonderful friends. We made it to graduation. We can’t do it? What is it we haven’t made it through yet? No one can tell us that we can’t, because we’ve already done it. We have more than what it takes to succeed.

We’ve been through a lot to get to today. But just as it took more than passing classes to get us here, it took more than just ourselves to get to graduation. We have had a lot of help. Without the help of those around us we might very well have lost our way. So thank you to the parents and loved ones who believed in us and loved us, the classmates who struggled with us, the professors who educated us, the university members that guided us and the friends who stood by us.

And there is one last thank you. My fellow classmates: those who I loved, those who I met in passing and those of you who I didn’t have the honor of knowing, thank you.......You are all amazing people. I hope you find everything you look for and that your lives lead you to happiness. You have made this experience unforgettable for me and for so many others. The times spent with you are what will be taken away from here along with our degrees. You have been a part of some of the greatest moments of our lives. And you’ve stood by during some of the saddest. You are in the stories that we tell and the memories that we share. You have made an imprint on our hearts and an impression on our lives. This experience would not have been the same without you for any of us. And I would not have been the same without you.

Congratulations Class of 2008. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

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