May 17, 2009

Stephanie Rink '09 delivering the class response.

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Four years.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars. 1,946 hours of class.  One Valentine’s snow day. Four rained out Parents Weekends.  One Bill Nye.  One Bill Clinton.  One Phil Zimbardo.  One Ron Jeremy.  One Funnel cake riot.  Thousands of people storming the court after the Patriot League Championships.  One, and only one, foam dance party. 

What a milestone!  We have successfully made our way through a prestigious liberal arts University and are now ready to share our experiences with the world.  Though our time at Bucknell there have been many challenges and hardships, every member of the class of 2009 has risen up to meet each with grace and strength.  Today, not only do we celebrate overcoming the obstacles that have challenged us, but also must acknowledge the lessons and growth that came from each new experience.

What is so great about Bucknell?
Throughout my four years at Bucknell University, I have been asked the same question time and time again: so, what is so great about Bucknell? All this time I have not been able to find the words.  I used to use the phrase “it is like heaven” to provide just a glimpse into this remarkable institution.  But now, as I join my classmates in celebrating the conclusion of one chapter and commencement of another, I believe I have finally found the answer.  What is so great about Bucknell? Purely and simply, it is home.

Looking back four years ago, I can recall a very distinct phone conversation I had with my mom.  I was walking to my first-year dorm after class one afternoon.  My mom casually asked, “What are you doing?” and I responded, “Oh, I’m just going home.” It hit me.  A mere two weeks into my Bucknell education I had already become a true Bucknellian and had realized that this campus is no ordinary place -- it is home.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, home is defined as “The place where one lives, a place where something flourishes, or the finishing point in a race.”  Bucknell does indeed fit the definition.  Yes, it has been our place of residence for the last four years, but it is so much more.

Students flourish
Bucknell is a place where students flourish.  Each of us has found our niche on this campus -- our unique conception of “home” within the University.  Whether it is the Dana Engineering building, working on that new design that will amaze students and professors alike.  Or Kinney Natatorium at 5 a.m., stretching for practice with your teammates.  Perhaps it is Sunday morning brunch in Bostwick Cafeteria with your first-year hall mates who have remained your close friends, or watching hours of sitcoms with your sorority sisters in Hunt Hall.  Maybe your home is yoga on a Wednesday night in the gym, or Trivia night at the Bull Run, or the orange “OA” shirt of New Student Orientation.  Perhaps it is summer research with your chemistry advisor, or working the late shift at 7th Street Café.  Each of us has our own unique conception of our home at Bucknell which has shaped us into the people we are today.

Home is not necessarily a physical location.  It is the people and experiences that accompany that place which truly make a home.  Each of us has been impacted by what we have learned, what we have accomplished, and who we have interacted with.  Each of us has also made an impact on this campus.  No matter how great or trivial our efforts, we have impacted the lives of those around us.

Bucknell became home because of your fellow students, professors, and mentors.  Bucknell became home because of life lessons, life chats, and life changes.  The people and experiences of these last four years have pushed us to our limit.  This has given us the ability to obtain nothing less than our dreams.  Now, as we push forward to this commencement, this new beginning, we must use our home as our anchor to achieve success.  Remember what you have learned here, whether it be within or outside of the classroom, and utilize the knowledge you gained at Bucknell.  Keep a piece of home at your core as you adventure outside of Lewisburg.

Congratulations
Bucknell is not the finishing point of a race, as the dictionary seems to suggest, but the beginning of our potential.  It is now our challenge to step through the gates, just as we did during New Student Orientation four short years ago, and confidently make our first strides into a world of possibility.  Congratulations, Class of 2009, and thank you for making Bucknell home.

Contact: Division of Communications 

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