Remarks to Fellow Graduates – Alexander William Camp
May 13, 2017
Chancellor Koch, President Killen, deans, trustees, faculty, friends, parents and most of all, my fellow graduates,
I’m not one to offer my personal recollections on my odyssey here in-depth, for as a journalist, I am obligated in being the curator of my world’s surroundings instead. But for this momentous occasion, it’s only fair to buck that trend.
I first arrived on this campus on the night of January 16th, 2012, and to be honest with you, I had no idea what I was doing. I was way in over my head, I thought, and over and over I thought, other than why are there so many cornfields here, was how am I going to exist in an environment that I never thought I would be in? It was such kind of insecurity embedded in me that I didn’t even think I’d make it to spring break, let alone the end of that semester.
But, a funny thing happened along a way. I met professors who made it their life’s mission to embrace the idea of applying their teachings to the real world. I met advisors who navigated me through the pitfalls of life as a college student, personally, academically and professionally. And most of all, I met people just like me, trying to get through this ambiguous corner of the American experiment and live to tell a tale.
Keep in mind, it hasn’t been an easy process. At this point, I have nauseating levels of anxiety that rises as if its AMC’s ratings when a new Walking Dead episode comes on. But, its beauty in that perceived trial and tribulation. For all the exhausting effort that comes in what seems is a week-in, week-out vestige it’s worth it when it’s said and done, because, today, 1,944 days since I first stepped foot in UIS, I stand before you as a recipient of my master’s degree.
And now my friends, this road, reaching the destination it has long traveled, now has to prepare for a brand new journey. You may have heard it, it’s called “The Real World.” Springfest preparations, campus parties, and looking forward to Cook’s Nook is suddenly replaced with figuring out credit scores, equity loans, and securing a career in a dog-eat-dog workplace environment.
However, if anything this four-year (or longer) odyssey should teach us, we are battle tested not to survive, but to master the moments that lie ahead, for we are the living embodiment of what this school prides itself on, Leadership lived.
My fellow graduates, we have all come from different walks of life, some with roads that have more mileage, bumps, and pitfalls than others.
There are some of you I don’t know, and there are those I’ve been with in the trenches, but all of us are united for it nothing else, with that shared commonality that we have, it’s the rightfully deserved belief that each one of you possess the kind of intestinal fortitude to forge your way to this point in your lives right now. The all-nighters before exam day, the times you had to rain check parties or social functions because you had to make sure that 10-page paper was submitted to Blackboard before the deadline.
It’s that kind of committed will that has not been in vain as it has led us to this moment in time, bringing us all together and for that, you will always have my undoubted admiration.
We did it.