August 24, 2011

Commencement Address by Student Lindsey Fortunato

Four Years

Thank you President Pantić,

It is my honor and true privilege to share my thoughts with you on this very special day.  

I ask each of you here today, graduates and family members, to consider this question: “What were the best four years of your life?”

Every one of us has thought it or heard it, likely many times before, possibly from a parent or mentor who may be here today.  With a note of pleasant nostalgia, or a tone of warning and admonition, someone a little older, and perhaps a little wiser, has said “Enjoy it while it lasts.  College will be the best four years of your life.”  

What an incredible four years it has been.  Thinking back, I can recall the particular moment in which my career at Wentworth began.  I remember pulling a large envelope out of the mailbox on a cool October day, and being overwhelmed by relief and excitement as I tore it open to reveal a particular piece of paper, which would ultimately shape much of my life.  Acceptance! 

From the moment we arrived on campus until now, we’ve all experienced a rollercoaster ride of triumphs and challenges.  We learned to create a color palette, draw a straight line, balance a spreadsheet, and use the CNC in the machine shop.  We have won thousands of games of Halo, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero.  We’ve spent hundreds of hours playing Ultimate Frisbee in the Evans Way Park.  We’ve consumed nearly one million chicken tender wraps in the Beatty Cafeteria, and we’ve learned the names of everyone on the late night shifts at UHOP and El Mondo by heart.  And while some of these twists and turns were frightening, or less than enjoyable, it isn’t hard to argue that during our years at Wentworth, we’ve truly had the time of our lives.

So what does this mean for all of us here, teetering on the brink of graduation? Are we about to jump from the highest point, only to tumble downhill for the next 60 or 70 years? Are we destined to spend the rest of our lives looking back at this time, wishing we could relive each of our 1,460 days at Wentworth?

I don’t think so.  With careful examination and thoughtful consideration, one can come to understand the reason behind the superlative given to the “college years.”  While some typical thoughts of the “animal house” college experience immediately come to mind, I’m quickly reminded that our time at Wentworth has been anything but typical.  I think one of the more significant reasons why college is often considered the best time in a person’s life is the pervasive optimism which encompasses most college careers.  

During our years at Wentworth, we have had the opportunity to pursue one of the most fulfilling educations available.  We have changed and grown into hard working, young professionals. And hopefully, we’ve all had a little fun along the way.  And while we’ve often been unsure of our futures, and we’ve questioned just what exactly it is that we’re doing playing with chipboard, putting in long lab hours, or endlessly studying equations at 3 am, we have always known that we were preparing ourselves for success.  

In each of those moments of question and doubt, as well as those moments of great success and accomplishment, we have felt ourselves become increasingly primed for the future.  We have never stopped looking ahead.  We have remained poised to take on the next four years.  This optimism has carried us through college. 

Today we stand at a threshold, looking back at the last four years as the real world beckons us forward.  I assure you that this is not the end of the best years of our lives, but instead the very beginning.  In just a few moments, we will walk across this stage to receive a second large envelope, with another very special piece of paper, and we will carry our diplomas into a new world of possibility.  With a sense of optimism and gratitude to those who have helped us along the way, that’s you Mom and Dad, we look ahead at the brilliant and successful careers which we will have earned. We look to the joys of marriage and the excitement of raising a family which many of us will experience.  We look forward to the incredible places we will go, to the amazing people we will meet along the way, and to the profound contributions we will make in our society and our world. With this optimism, we will find happiness in every day that lies before us, making the next four years, and the next four years, and the next four years the best four years. 

Congratulations Wentworth Institute of Technology, Class of 2011!  We did it!

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