May 23, 2011

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Sarah Leung
Class of 2011 Class Response
May 22, 2011

How are you doing, Class of 2011? I hope you have been enjoying this wonderful weekend celebrating with friends and families. What are you thinking about at this moment? Are you recalling the blast you had at Senior Week? Are you reminiscing about your personal experiences at Bucknell? Perhaps you are looking forward to medical school, graduate school or a new job? Whatever it is on your mind right now, I ask you now at this time to dig into your memory and recollect the time when you first began your voyage on the Bucknell campus.

Do you remember on Aug. 17, 2007, students from 10 countries and 41 states arrived on campus for Orientation? That day jumpstarted what has been an exciting, enlightening, challenging yet rewarding four years of our life at Bucknell University. Now, nearly four years later, after hundreds of thousands of dollars, 1.2 million hours of classes, one First Night, four Chrysalis dances, one T-Pain/Third Eye Blind concert, one Seth Myers comedy show, and eight BU After Dark carnivals, here we are, at a major milestone of our life, about to conclude our college years and ready to step out of the bubble and into the real world. Today, we're here to commemorate the lasting memories we have made at Bucknell, and to kick off the journey to our future.

When I was thinking about what to say today, I sought advice from others: What did the speakers in their Commencement speeches say at their graduation? What was special about their messages? However, after much consideration, I realized that my search was an impossible task, because each university is unique and has its own distinguished qualities. So I have a question for you: What is so special about Bucknell?

One of the aspects that really sets Bucknell apart from other schools is that it is not about the numbers or the size, but rather it's about the personal experiences, both academically and socially. Whether you've been here for four years or you're a graduate student or a transfer student. Bucknell has played an important role in your life.

I've learned that, by the time each of us graduate, we have spent an average of 4,800 hours for homework and classwork. Well, that number may not apply to everyone, yes, especially you overachievers and slackers. But it is not about the amount of time devoted to the classroom or the labs. It is about the experience you had from your classes, and what you gained from it, day after day, hour after hour. It is about the work ethic that you have developed and the skills you have learned in class that will be useful in your future careers.

At Bucknell, we also take pride in the relationship between students and professors. We are surprised that they are interested in knowing our post-graduate plans. We are ecstatic when professors invite our whole class over to their home to have dinner and to meet their family. These relationships are what have shaped our educational life here, and they are what we will remember days, months and years from now.

Socially, I know it looks so impressive to have 800 friends on Facebook. But it's the depth of friendship with our close friends here that has the most significance. We value the friends who laugh and cry with us, who stand by us in times of struggles and obstacles. We love those friends who are willing to go to Sheetz with us at 2 a.m. to grab a study snack, or those that have walked with us when we made our way through downtown Lewisburg for different activities. I am sure everyone here has made lasting friendships with groups of close-knit friends, which really shows that quality of friendship stands above all. I thank my friends here, from the bottom of my heart, for the positive impacts they have made in my life.

So, after Bucknell, what comes next?

I encourage you to live with our class motto in mind: Live with integrity, Empower through knowledge, Lead with courage. When you exit the Bucknell bubble, keep these words in your mind and use them as an anchor for your success and achievements.

Finally, I would like to take this time to thank our families and our parents on behalf of my classmates. You have nurtured and supported us, no questions asked. As cliché as it may sound, we would not have had this opportunity to be here, and to graduate from such a prestigious institution without your love and your care. And for that, we're thankful.

And now, the time has come for us to step through the Christy Mathewson Gates, into a world of new opportunities. Because of the friends we have made, and the great education we have received here, I have faith in every single one of us that we can achieve our dreams. Congratulations, Bucknell Class of 2011, and good luck!

Contact: Division of Communications