Forever Bound to the River

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Abbey Denaro's Commencement Speech at UML's 2009 Graduation. 


Our journey through college is over.  Those four long years of writing papers, cramping our hands during long exams, and endless nights of studying is a distant thought.  We are here looking back at the memories, both good and bad, and how much we all changed.  Sometimes, we think that a "change" can be a bad thing.  A bad "change" throws us off to a different path that we are not ready for or something that we just cannot adapt to and further better ourselves.  Fortunately, this type of change doesn't match the one we all have undergone at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  We all have changed in a way that our dreams are a reality and our future becomes brighter like the sun illuminating the clear blue sky or like the moon shining among the twinkling stars of the velvet night. 

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Abbey Denaro, who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, gave everyone at graduation the perfect metaphor for our journey through college and life; our journey is like the Merrimack River, which cuts through the heart of UMass Lowell.

Here is part of her speech that explains the metaphor:

"In reflecting upon my years at UMass Lowell, I realize that the Merrimack River is a principle symbol and life-force of the University. It is deep, wide, and clear; it is powerful, enduring, and brilliant. But further down the river you can see the strong rapids with trees and rocks in its way, interfering with its path. The Merrimack continues on this journey, from calm and unobstructed to occluded and strained, until it reaches its final destination into the open and free Atlantic.

 

We have all been making our way through that river our whole lives, and now is the time that we get to go full steam ahead to the open expanse of the sea. There is no doubt that there will be rough waters along the way, but they are there to strengthen us, just as the waterfalls strengthen the Merrimackís power and beauty. UMass Lowell has provided us with the skills to create our own unique means to successfully navigate to the ocean of opportunity... If we all use the skills that we have been developing here at UMass Lowell, and if we continue to be motivated in the manner that got us here today, then no obstacle will ever block of prevent the journey of our future.  We, as graduates of UMass Lowell, are forever bound to the Merrimack River..."

And you can't write anything better than that... Abbey wrote/spoke it beautifully.  The river is very relatable to our journey through college and life.  We all experienced its turbulent obstacles when the flowing water hits the rocky section of the river, and the calmness and beauty of success when the river passes along.  Our life can be chaotic, unpredictable, and fearful, but with our newly learned knowledge and skills that was passed on through generations of Riverhawks, we become the navigators and forgers of the future.  We can direct ourselves over and through these obstacles to reach our goals and dreams of success and happiness.

So here it begins.  My journey through life continues.  I was once a naive child who held his wooden ship on his hand and dared to sail it on the mighty river.  Now, I'm happy to say that I finally know how to navigate "to the ocean of opportunity." I'm the captain of the ship fighting the currents of that same river.

Let me sail away with the Class of 2009... we're heading for the ocean...

- Christian
  UML '09

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Tiongson, Christian J published on June 16, 2009 9:05 PM.

Chapter V: Graduation Day was the previous entry in this blog.

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