President Harrison, Faculty Members, Fellow Graduates

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President Harrison, faculty members, fellow graduates, family, and friends, welcome. We did it, Class of 2019! This is an incredible moment in our lives where we will be able to look back and say, “we did thaaaaaaat”. So, let’s soak this all in. Upon writing this speech, I googled, “how to write the greatest graduation speech without putting everyone to sleep”. I didn’t find much, as you can imagine. So, I asked Siri, “what is the meaning of life?” she told me, “all evidence suggests it’s chocolate”. She’s not wrong. But then I asked my Amazon echo, “Alexa, please provide guidance as I write my graduation speech and also, order some chocolate using my prime account”, she said, “no”. So, I sat in front of my empty word doc, created an outline, wrote out several drafts, backed it up on a usb… multiple times, ran it through our favorite…, and revised until completely satisfied. I came to the conclusion that 1) this wasn’t a research paper, 2) CSUN taught me how to write an effective paper that it was like second nature, and 3) there is only so much our education here at CSUN has taught each and every one of us. It goes beyond the textbook, beyond formulating a ‘A’ paper or this kickass speech. This goes beyond us. Whether you are a single parent, a parent, a first-generation graduate or like me… the last person in your family to graduate. Allow this day to be a reminder of this amazing accomplishment!

We have spent countless nights working on a paper until the early morning… if we’re lucky, catching up on a mountain of reading assignments, studying tirelessly for cumulative exams while… working jobs, taking care of our children, our families, and most importantly, remembering to take care of ourselves. We are anything but lazy. We worked hard in school to be great students and worked hard outside of school to function properly as a human. We have gone above and beyond to fulfill the requirements of our degrees. Now, just look around you.

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We, as graduates now have the opportunity to do what we love and love what we do. There is no better time than now to put ourselves out there in the world, and to make the necessary edits in order for us to motivate change… to make the world better. When I think about life after graduation, it’s not at all daunting. In fact, it’s inspiring. This is the beginning of a new journey where we are faced with the determination to succeed. This is the time for us to be brilliant people, to manifest what it means to be a productive and contributing member in the real world. I believe this is something worth striving for.

Our existence is not a partial sum of good decisions, vacations, smiles, or times of great success. No. It is a continuous function whose endpoints are birth and death, and whose definite integral sums up each breath, each tear, each celebration, midterm, basketball game, each sorrow. We are the beautiful product of every single one of our mistakes because those mistakes force us to look inward and think about who we are right now. From there, we can shape ourselves in any way we desire.

We would not be sitting here in our nicely adorned cap & gowns if it weren’t for the people who came to support and be with us today. I would like to take this time to thank our friends and families, as well as our brilliant professors here at CSUN. I’d also like to say thank you mommy, daddy, my siblings, my nephews, Yaya, and Brian. You are all the most important presences in my life, without whom I wouldn’t be here today, standing in front of you. Thank you for your infinite love and encouragement.

Fellow graduates, when you leave today to begin writing your new chapter, do not dismiss the previous one so eagerly. Read it over, reference it often, and certainly never throw it away. Congratulations class of 2019!

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President Harrison, Faculty Members, Fellow Graduates. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved from

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