My Rider College Graduation Speech

Here I am, standing in front of Rider University in New Jersey watching my father driving away and leaving me alone to begin my journey of becoming an adult. I did not know what to expect from my freshman year. I was a little worried and nervous as any freshman would be, I constantly kept thinking about family and all my friends who are on the other side of the planet, but all these feelings started disappearing after I stepped into my dorm. Rider College takes a special place in my life because for me it was a time of self-discovery full of both trials and prosperity that come along with a limitless freedom of adult. Little did I know, my first year of college would bring about so many lasting memories and friends, numerous obstacles in obtaining new knowledge and education, that would forever change me.

I remember how I walked into a very old building where I was going to live for the next year. The only thought in my head was “I am a college freshman”. The campus was big enough to fulfill any student’s desires or goals such as becoming a professional athlete training in university’s gym, football field or any other sport facilities. Rider was fresh and green with many parks corresponding to New Jersey’s title as “The Garden State”. The first couple of weeks were full of never-ending parties. All my friends and I were thrilled with a newfound freedom that college life came with. We could stay up and out as late as we wanted to without any problems. We could eat whatever we wanted and have our rooms as messy as we wanted. We were with friends twenty-four hours a day, creating close bonds and friendships. Freedom does not come without a struggle, and we as freshman had to struggle with high school, parents, and even petty drama for the freedom we obtained the minute we walked onto the college campus. Some people went a little too wild with their newfound freedom, regretting many of the things they did with the freedom. Others proceeded with caution, sometimes a little too much. I like to think that I found a healthy medium between the two. Humans have a crazy ability to adapt without question. It was challenging to get used to a life run by me and only me, but if you think about it, it only took six weeks for me to adjust to a new lifestyle, after almost eighteen years of familiarity. I always came late to classes, did not complete my homework assignments and was not paying attention during the classes. My head was filled with parties and different thoughts that distracted me from studying. I also spent a huge amount of money on trivial and useless things. Eventually, I ended up arguing with my parents about my grades on the exams and academic performance, which was terrible. That made me realize that I am wasting my time. I have come to conclusion that my college years should not be wasted only on parties and fun, I tried to focus and dedicate most of time developing as a well-rounded person and seek for my dream goals. I gradually got better at prioritizing my time and learned better ways of studying. In Rider, I understood the importance and responsibilities of adult life that comes with a self-discipline.

The classes also played a crucial role in the formation of my adulthood being the place where I had to work hard and be persistent in order to succeed. I always thought of myself as a smart person. Examinations were not a big deal for me at all, I could read the entire material over one night and be prepared. Therefore, I was totally calm and unworried about college level education. My first English class paper certainly changed my attitude about that. A grade C surprised me as I was working hard enough on it to expect receiving confident A or B+. After receiving my grade, my heart dropped. It was hard and not to mention new for me. I did not get bad grades. Ever. I considered my work to be “A” work, especially by my own standards. Even so, I was very misguided in the mindset of the work I had to do in college coming to school. It is not supposed to be easy, as nothing in life is. Even though the grade was upsetting at first, it provided me with a spark. I pushed myself harder, harder than I ever had to work. I spent countless numbers of hours on the following papers, drafting, writing, and editing in an endless cycle. It paid off; I saw improvement with each paper. Although I ended up not getting the coveted “A” I sought, I got a proud “B+,” the hardest “B+” I ever had to work for. From my experience with my first of many college-level English classes, I learned a lot, both academically and outside of the classroom. I learned much about writing and rhetoric. But more importantly, I learned two essential things: nothing comes easy and learning the material is far more important than the grades I received.

The classroom is not the only place where learning takes place. I have learned so much from the relationships I have made. I have made incredible bonds with the amazing people I met this year. From each and every person, I have learned a different thing, whether it is something from their religion or culture or the way in which they view and live their life. I feel that chance has brought me here to learn from them, and I must take it for what it is, being incredibly lucky to have such pleasure to broaden myself and my personal views and knowledge. The experiences and memories are priceless. There is nothing I could ask for in exchange for the things I have both learned and been through here at Rider College. My advice to the incoming class of 2019 is to make lasting memories. Take chances. Be careful. Work hard. Learn in class and out of class. Open your mind. Take what comes at you for what it is. And most importantly, live the life you have been given.

13 January 2020
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