Good morning. First off, I would like to welcome everyone here; my class, families, alums, faculty, staff, everyone. Before I start, it’s clear I kind of lost my voice a little bit.
Today, May 19, 2018, is the day we all here from this institution graduate. It’s been a journey, hasn’t it? And oftentimes we find that we end one journey to begin another. Two words—matriculation and commencement—words that describe very distinct times of our lives and define new beginnings.
On August 21, 2014, I packed my entire closet and hopped in a car from New York City into a new life. I mean, Norton of all places. Sorry, Norton. There was excitement, fear, and many responsibilities awaiting. Even now I feel the same. I mean, student loans are coming our way so we are going to have to handle that. These past four years have been filled with laughs, hurt, pain, sometimes physical. I mean, I have seen some of you break a bunch of things. So many memories. You know, successes and failures. We have made some of the best friends we will ever know and gained connections, knowledge and, most of all, experience. And those experiences, whether good or bad, have helped us grow. From that, I can say we’ve grown a little wiser and more ready for what comes next. So the dreaded question of every college senior, “What are you going to do next?”
Some of us here, bestowed with grace, do know what we are going to be doing next, and some of us are still in that endless cycle of searching and applying. But for all of us, I have one suggestion. Well, many suggestions. Learn from the things that we are afraid of. Let’s jump into our goals wholeheartedly and if we fail, it’s OK. We’ll take time to stop, reflect, and understand what our actions mean for ourselves and those around us. The water is real. The water is really real. We are beginning our path through a competitive and challenging world and it will be tough at times, but let’s remember the things that we have. Great minds, a multitude of skills, and friends and family that care about us. And look around. These people are here for us, our family is here for us, because they care about us. Your people up here and all the faces I see here, care about us. And for my people of color, for the culture, hold it down. But one thing for all of us to keep in mind is to continue to be fearless and dare to be different. And I note that my class, the Class of 2018, will make a mark on this earth.
So I was asked to do this by many people. I will to say this one time for the last time. I am Akrofi Akotiah, aka A.K. A.K. is a Ghana boy. Not a Ghana boy, but the Ghana boy. It has been an honor to serve as your class president and on to the next adventure. Thank you.