The following is the speech given by student speaker Juliet Carty Greene of Salem at North Shore Community College's commencement exercises held Thursday, May 22.
Good evening, President Gentile, Dr. Desmond, members of the board of trustees, honored guests, faculty, staff, fellow graduates, family, and friends. It is with great pride that I stand here before you this evening. Thank you for the opportunity to represent the class of 2014.
A year ago, the thought of standing in front of all the graduating students from North Shore Community College as well as their friends and family members would have terrified me. Additionally, I wondered: “how can I speak to a room full of graduates much younger than I am who may not be interested in anything I have to say?” Then I thought back to the Speech class I took during the fall semester of 2013. That course taught me a lot about myself and that I do have some valuable thoughts and knowledge to share with this graduating class. I realized that the speech class was a mirror of my time here at the college. I now know that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I was, and I am sure this is true for all the graduates sitting in this room.
Tonight, I want to share with you three very important lessons that I am taking away from my time here at NSCC. I hope they are as inspiring for you as they are for me.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. If there is one thing that you remember that can apply to any phase of your life please let it be that. I went to college right after graduating from high school because that’s what I always had been told I would do. After two tries at two different schools, I decided that college wasn’t for me at that time. My plan was to take a year or two off, enter the work force and use that time to think about what I wanted to do for a career and return to school once I knew. However, I never imagined that I would go any further in school than I absolutely had to. The thought of possibly earning an associates degree seemed like a lofty enough goal, I did not even want to think about going to school for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, or attend school even longer to earn a master’s degree. Well, that was in 1999, and I did not attend school again until 2012, when I enrolled here at NSCC. I was excited about starting college again, but I was also pretty nervous! I knew that I was a more mature person than when I made my first attempts at being a college student, but I wondered, what was it going to be like to study again? Would I actually commit to attending class this time instead of just hanging out with friends? What would it be like to work full-time while attending school? I thought I had a better handle on being a responsible student this time, and thank goodness I was right!