August 28, 2013

Adam Parsons Wentworth Commencement Speech

The following is a transcript of the speech delivered by Wentworth graduate Adam Parsons during the school’s August 25, 2013 Commencement event.

 Good Afternoon and Thank You President Pantic for the introduction.

 My name is Adam Parsons and it is my great honor to address you all today as your Student Commencement Speaker for the Graduating Class of 2013.

 I would like to start off by thanking the faculty seated behind me for the opportunity to be able to stand in front of you today – as a Wentworth Graduate. None of us would be here without your invested time and effort. May we give them a round of applause!

 I would also like to further extend a very special thank you to our friends, families, and loved ones alike. For without your compassion and encouragement, our journey that has brought us all here today would not have been so easily traveled. Thank you.

 We are here today to recognize those seated here before us, and that is the Wentworth Institute of Technology Graduating Class of 2013.

 We made it. Go ahead and give yourselves a round of applause.

 I am willing to bet that for most of us, nearly four or five years ago, we heard a Graduating Senior issue those very same words, “We made it.”

 And as I stand in front of you today, I find it incredible how three simple words can hold so much meaning on a day like this. I am further willing to bet that the first time you heard those words, you were so consumed by a mixture of emotions that you failed to consider what they meant. Even now, I am willing to bet many of you may not know what that phrase means, many of you may not care, and then there are those of you who are simply counting down the seconds until you get to get out of this “feature-flattering” cap and gown and on to the after party.

 Regardless, I challenge you to consider what the phrase “We made it” truly means to you. I personally have spent the last semester considering the phrase and what it may mean, specifically now that this momentous day has arrived.

 You see, “We Made It” is suggestive of so much more. Is it suggesting that we made it here, merely a destination? Or is it suggestive of making it to a point in time, which symbolizes the end of one chapter and the beginning of another?

 Maybe to some of us it is more evocative of successfully conquering our own personal challenges and struggles. That is, we made it through the never ending list of required classes, labs and projects: even the ones dictated in a dark lit, overly warm classroom. Lead by the most monotone voice ever imaginable. That voice that seemed to make time stop itself.

 For someone like me as a design major, it meant we made it through countless trials of arts and crafts. Perhaps even unhealthy overexposure to Super Glue in all the wrong places. Or maybe it means making it through the frequented nerve-wracking process of critiques. You recall the crits? A lovely firing squad like scenario where the fired up response of a coffee deprived professional was almost always guaranteed.

 However, after giving thought to the ambiguity surrounding this one singular phrase, I have reached one particular conclusion. That is, I realize that no matter what this phrase means to me, it likely means something different to each and every one of you.

 Those three words, “We made it” are often used on a day such as today because they are relative. There is not one singular meaning, one singular appropriate use. You see, we choose what it means and what perspective to view it from. Yet the meaning we give to that simple phrase is the beauty of the education we are receiving today.

 The ability to make our own choice on which perspective to view something from, that is where the true value and meaning of our education lies. And so with that knowledge, I leave you all today with what I believe the phrase “We Made It” means.

 It means we made it through four years of homework assignments, tests, and labs where we were challenged to use our knowledge and skills.

 We made it through all the successes and not so successful endeavors of our own journey. Through times when our wills were tested, our city was tested, when our very minds and bodies were tested. And yet, we came out on top.

 It means that we made it to the eminent future in which our hard work and years here will pay off. Where it is now our turn to cash in, our turn to make something of ourselves and our turn to take on the challenges facing us as our future careers and lives begin.

 As we leave here and Wentworth today, simply put, it means “We Made It!”

 Thank you and congratulations to the class of 2013. 

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