Rachel Yalowich '12 Remarks at Commencement

May 20, 2012


Good morning everyone!! It’s hard to believe this day is finally here. First of all, on behalf of the class of 2012, I’d like to thank parents, family, friends and faculty who helped make our education possible, who helped us get here and helped us achieve here. This day is as much a dedication to you as it is to us. And of course, congratulations to all of the graduates!

Friends and family, I’d like to welcome you to our home for the past 4 years. Some of you may have visited often and for some of you this may be your first time in beautiful Canton. It’s days like this that makes us fall in love with this place all over again... But lets be honest, we don’t come here for the weather. -10 and blustering snow outnumber these days 10:1...

So why are we here? Our class descended on Canton four years ago from all over the US, from Maine to California and the world from Bulgaria to Kenya. Some of us came to SLU certain that they wanted that St. Lawrence experience, while some, like myself, were unsure if this was the right place for them. But nevertheless we came, in cars packed with new dorm supplies and brimming with excitement but also anxiety and uncertainty for the future. We came here with unique aspirations: to play sports, to study english, economics, history, communications and the sciences, to go abroad, to do research. 

But why did we stay? But we stayed at St. Lawrence because of the people. We stayed because we met inspiring professors, staff and coaches who quickly became mentors and friends. They taught us to overcome adversity, find our passions and to never accept the norms of society, but rather to challenge them. We stayed because we met friends who have become family.

Today, we leave, only physically. We leave with a degree that will open doors to new careers, acceptance into graduate school, a future, whatever that may be. A degree that represents more than just a GPA and a major. It is 4 years of dedication, growing up, growing apart, falling in and out of love. In these 4 years we’ve had as many failures as we have successes. With each misstep gaining a bit more humility and a better understanding of this world. We leave here with relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime.

That’s why it is so hard to know whether today should be happy or sad. Happy, that after 4 years of hard work and all-nighters, we have finally finished college. Sad that we must leave because it is the last time we will play on the quad, study in ODY or float down the Grasse River, together as students. We leave today just as we came, full of excitement, but also anxiety and uncertainty for the future. We leave today so we can bring our knowledge, our passions and our humanity to the rest of the world. Perhaps today is simply momentous.

So here’s to us, the great class of 2012, here’s to these 4 years, we’ve had quite the run.