I was truly honored to be able to speak at Bay Path University’s Commencement. My journey in getting to this point was a long and winding road, full of many different paths. Somehow, losing my way, I made it back with the help of some very special women. I’ve never been so proud to represent The American Women’s College and their Online and One Day programs for women like me who had dreams of finishing their college degree and never thought it was possible. Well I’ve got news for you, it is possible and I’m living proof that resilience and perseverance are more than just large vocabulary words.
As I stand here looking out at the people sitting in the audience, I see so many faces. Faces of those who, today, mark the beginning of the rest of their lives: Faces of accomplishment reflected in those receiving their baccalaureate degree today and the faces of those who’ve sat here before, continuing their educational journey and now have the opportunity to go so much further in their careers then they ever thought possible. Faces of those who had the patience and perseverance to continue their goal of attaining a graduate degree. I look at the faces of the women, who, just like me, may have taken the longer road to get to where they knew they had to get. A road that brought them experiences, children, work, but somehow led us all back to our original goal, a goal of completing a degree. A goal that I myself set out to complete a very long time ago, and now, standing in front of you, have accomplished, through the love and support of family, friends and Bay Path University who all believed in me. Finally, I see the faces of those out there who have supported, encouraged, and cheered all of us on our different journeys. To all those faces, I say thank you, from all of us here today for that very important love and support that encouraged and cheered us on to accomplish our goals.
During my journey through Bay Path University and the American Women’s College, I’ve realized that our: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is realizing you don't need an all-powerful wizard to make everything in our lives happen. We are the Wizards, of our own destiny. We have the brains, the heart and the courage to continue the many accomplishments we’ll have throughout our lives. Our strength, determination, and values are how we will make our dreams come true.
Bay Path University has given us the tools to be able to follow the yellow brick roads that will bring us to our successes and allow us to be bold, be confident and seize the moments that will guide us along our journeys. Bay Path instills so much more than just having a college experience, it gave us the freedom to become leaders, not just for our own lives, but for those we live with, work with and who need our help.
Before coming to the American Women’s College Online program, I was just another college dropout, who followed too many other roads. And then, an opportunity to be bold, and get a second chance presented itself. Now, two years later, I stand in front of you speaking at commencement as a college graduate. I knew that I wanted to finish what I had started; I wanted to be able to show my son that when you have a dream and have resilience that you can make things happen. That you have value and those same values will lead you to success no matter what road you follow. We have the magic within ourselves to make our dreams a reality. We have the boldness to go after what we want for our futures, thanks to the inspiration and lessons taught to us by Dr. Leary, the teachers, staff and peers here at Bay Path University. We have the love of our families and friends, who have been our fans, our cheerleaders, and guides throughout this wonderful adventure. This is the exact moment where we know, that we too can fly where those happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow. That rainbow may be a dream job, writing a novel, or, like my rainbow, that is to become a role model for my son as he starts to follow his own journey.
Whatever your rainbow is, it was within you all along, and will continue to shine through your accomplishments. Class of 2016, the future is ours for the taking.
When you feel lost and start to doubt your abilities, remember the beautiful words of Glinda the Good Witch as written by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself”.