I’m going to do my best to avoid clichés in this address. Things like, “as I walk these halls,” and “start a new chapter of life,” will attempt to make their ways in, but I pledge to you my loyalty in battling these eye roll inducing quips to the death. That said, I’ll continue.
It took me nine years from the time I graduated from high school to finish my degree. There are numerous reasons for that from anecdotes to sob stories, but I will spare you those. What I will say is, as unbelievable as it may be, I don’t regret a moment. I have gone through periods of looking back and wishing things had gone differently, but those days are over. My present happy circumstances and my faith in God have brought me to a place where my regret has vanished and in the space it occupied is the realization that I stand today exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I’m 27 years old. I’m married to a wonderful man. My parents love me. I have loyal and caring friends. I have a wealth of life experience tucked away in my memory. I am poised to enter law school in the fall and I am about to be a college graduate.
When all is said and done, it doesn’t get much better than this.
God has brought me here today with the privilege of being able to tell you this with a full and happy heart.
The only bittersweet portion of these days is the inevitable word that must be spoken to the past in parting. I have to say goodbye. I would bring each one of you with me if I could. And I’m sure I’ll take a few trips down memory lane with all of you from time to time, but as the saying goes, “You can never go home again.”
It is true. KSU has been my home since 2002. Just as I have been here to watch it grow into the world-renowned, impressive and competitive university it is, KSU has watched me grow.
I began here as a sad, scared young woman fighting to get a glimpse of her place in the world. I was frightened of everything, most especially my own potential. I knew even then that I was never meant for an easy, simple life blending in with my surroundings. I am meant to stand out. I always have and I probably always will.
Like a faithful friend, or like a loving family, KSU nurtured and supported my growth from that scared girl, to the terribly insecure know-it-all, and finally to the woman you see and hear today. Standing on her own two feet in the face of a world of knowledge and experience I have not and may never know. Confident in the fact that, despite my wonderful KSU education, I still have very much to learn.
And I crave it. I thirst for more experience, more education, more life. KSU has cultivated this thirst in me and more than any critical thoughts I read on some classic author, that is what I will take with me into the future. The greatest gift KSU has given me is the zest for learning and passion for life that each and every one of us probably feels at this moment. For this gift, this invaluable life lesson, I will be eternally grateful. KSU has left its stamp on me forever.
As I move forward through my studies and personal life, I will forever hold KSU, Owl Radio, and all the Bean About Town listeners in my heart. You, all of you have made the hard times more bearable, the great times brighter, and my successes possible. Whenever things would get rough, I knew I could come in here to the studio and talk to my Bean About Town and Owl Radio family and it would make me feel better. It would get me through the day. You all have been a beacon lighting the way in my undergrad career.
Okay. Enough super sappy and sentimental metaphors. My English professors would be disgusted with me and they probably are if they’re listening. Please don’t lower my grades, ok?
All that is left to say is goodbye and thank you. WHat you all have given me cannot possibly be summed up in a flowery speech, an impassioned essay, or even some bad poetry (which I’m known for). Just know that if you ever are in doubt, you have had a profound positive impact on someone’s life. Mine. I truly care for you all and I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you so much for the privilege of speaking with you each week and knowing you better every time. You are loved, my Bean About Town listeners, and you will be sorely missed.
Goodbye and God bless you all.