Farewells and reflections
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 13:05
I’m leaving. This has been a week of lasts for me. Earlier this week, I swore in Taylor Billman, my successor, as SGA president, and a few short hours ago, I participated in my last class as a student at IUP. These experiences have been bittersweet for me, as I am undoubtedly excited to be moving on with my life and looking forward to what comes next for me. However, I am more than a little sad right now as well. Given that sadness, I thought I would take this final opportunity to grace these pages to reflect on why IUP is such a special place.
First, and completely undiscountable, is its opportunity. Nobody is going to think you will get the same opportunities here that you would if we were in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh; however, if you want to do something, you can find a way to do it in Indiana. For me alone, I had the opportunity to run political campaigns, to participate in a TV show, to run my own TV show, to participate in student government, and to advance my horizons far beyond anything that I could’ve imagined when I came here. While it may be easy to dismiss this as the writings of somebody who is unusually successful, absolutely nothing I did is impossible to replicate. It’s easy to think that I stumbled into all of this, but what I did instead was seize every opportunity I saw.
The opportunities aren’t limited student leadership. I have friends who have participated in plays and movies, and who have taken on projects related to what they were studying and found a way to work that into the fabric of IUP’s life. The best part is the future of IUP. Student opportunity is brighter than it ever has been. With a new president beginning July 1 and a new provost on the way shortly after that, IUP has leadership that is ready to take it to the next level and support whatever is necessary to ensure student success. Also the more that I see all of our alumni the more I realize if you’re willing to reach out as current students, we will be able to find whatever support we need from somebody who’s been there and done that. However, this is entirely up to you. If you want to do nothing, you are entirely capable of doing that and nobody will think any less with you for it. That being said, given what I’m seeing when I apply for jobs these days, employers want people who did more than sit in class and do just what was immediately necessary in order to graduate.
To sum it up, IUP is a special place, and how special it is for you is entirely up to you. My final word is to take whatever opportunities you can, because this will be your last opportunity to experiment and branch out in any meaningful and immediate way. Four years ago, if somebody had told me that I would be Student Government president and have my own column in the school paper along with all of the other things that I have done, I would’ve looked at them like there was something wrong with them. However, I’m glad that this has happened to me, and I firmly believe that IUP is the only place that this could’ve happened.
So with that, take me as an example of what you can do if you choose to invest during your time at IUP. Thank you, it’s been a blast, and good luck.