MY ROAD TO GRADUATION
A speech to my fellow graduates
This is a very exciting and special time in my life; twenty plus years in the making. I did not imagine that I would have the opportunity to walk across Alice Tully Hall’s stage and receive my graduate degree. You see I grew up in the projects behind Lincoln Center. So I know that in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.
I want to thank God for giving me the tenacity to continue towards my degrees. Instead of giving myself reasons why I could not go on, I gave myself reasons why I could. I thank my husband Irvin, and my sons Vaughn and Wesley for allowing me to periodically interrupt their lives so that I could continue mine. I thank my family and friends for their support and encouraging words. Lastly, I thank the School of Professional Studies for being my lifeline.
I started my college career eager like most 18 year olds. I was excited and ready to get away from a strict but loving mother. I headed off to C.W. Post naïve, but ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, naivety won out. I stayed at Post for two years and left because of financial issues and dumb decisions.
At twenty years old and feeling a bit defeated, I started down the road towards employment. I worked at a bank until I found a permanent and higher paying position in city government at the age of 23.
Marriage, children, work and volunteer positions happily consumed my life until one day I wanted more. Attaining my degree was always in the back of my mine. I served on numerous boards with people who had college degrees. Even though I was respected and showed confidence, I felt inadequate. I knew I had to go back to school.
I started my slow steady trek back to college by attending The College of New Rochelle. I soon found out that traditional education was not for me. I had two school age sons, a husband and a full-time job. I had no time to attend school in the evening. It was not until I read about CUNY’s SPS program did my slow step become a fast gallop.
Rabindranath Tagore said clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. SPS became the color to my sunset sky. I would not have been able to complete my BA or MS if not for CUNY’s SPS program.
This program, as hard as it has been, has given me the flexibility to not miss a beat in my other life duties. I have encountered some fantastic and brilliant professors. I have also come across some that were not so great. The advisors were always ready to lend a hand, while making sure you stayed on track. The entire SPS family is always there to lend a helping hand.
What can I say about all of you, my fellow graduates? I say thank you for being supportive, informed, creative partners on this walk. Imagine having friends you never physically meet but have such a bond with. CUNY SPS has some of the brightest stars around.
I wish you all unlimited success and happiness. Remember to shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars. (Les Brown)