Welcome, class of 2012. Today I'm earning my Associate of Science degree [and let me tell you it feels great]. This fall I'll be studying physics at State University.
I'm so proud to be graduating with you here at Northern Community College. Tonight, we're here to celebrate our accomplishments [and you know we deserve it!] May we not forget how far we have come, and let us look to the future and continue to push ourselves to reach for our dreams and goals.
Some time ago we took that all so important first step. We recognized the VALUE and significance of our educations and determined to better ourselves, and today each one of us has achieved an important goal. Congratulations to all of you.
I know that it was not easy.
Many of us had our doubts when we came to this campus. We worried that we were too young or too old. We may have been afraid because it was the first time we'd ever been on a college campus. Maybe we didn't think we could handle the math, or the writing or the computers or what ever it was we told ourselves we could not do.
However, we took the first step and came here to Northern Community College because we saw an opportunity: to learn, to grow, to stretch ourselves in order to improve upon our abilities and rise to that next level. Today, Northern will award approximately 1900 degrees or certificates. These students reflect a great diversity, something we should be very proud of here at Northern. We have students graduating tonight that represent many different cultures, and the one thing we all have in common is that we all had hopes of a better life for ourselves and our families and we knew that self-improvement was the only way to achieve this goal. And we stuck with it. We overcame; we soldiered on into a brighter future, and we sit here tonight that much closer to our dreams. Again, congratulations to all of you.
Some of the most important things many of us learned here at Northern were the things we learned about ourselves, things that no book could ever teach us. One of the most important things I learned is:
Do not let fear or self-doubt stop you from pursuing your dreams.
Ever since I was a boy, I have wanted to know how everything works. I can remember asking my mother difficult questions that were impossible to answer and then getting very upset because I didn't understand. I wanted to know when, why, and how it all began, and how it interacts to form our universe. This is my passion and has been as long as I can remember. I was born to be a scientist.
I only wish I would have realized it sooner.
Before I came to this college, after dropping out of high school, I was digging ditches to pay the bills, and I had little or no hope of finding a meaningful career. I was stuck in the mud, and that is not a figure of speech; I was up to my knees in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew that a shovel had nothing at all to do with it. So I took that first step...