By Mary Clark
Image above: Source
Graduate: v. successfully complete an academic degree, course of training, or high school.
Succeed: v. achieve the desired aim or result.
In life, we all look to succeed, and some look to graduate. This is a fairly innocuous claim, but it’s also a fascinating one. When you read the above definitions, to succeed and to graduate are just verbs. Strings of letters put together to give some kind of meaning, as is true with the whole of the English language.
We learn that we should not give up or stop moving in life until we succeed, and as academics, we are told the same about pursuing our day on the stage, with our gowns, tassels, accolades, and hopes for the future. But simply being told that this is what we should strive for does nothing to demonstrate the reality of doing these things.
As we at CBU round out our semester and our year, a big event is coming up. Graduation is May 13, and just like in the abstract, this day means more than just the words, I’m graduating. It means you have done the thing you have worked toward for four, or more, years. It means all the late night, or all night, study slams paid off. All the tears, fears, anxieties, anger, and frustration actually turned out to be worth it. It means that your goals are now realities, and your future goals are within reach.
That’s huge, that gives success a whole new meaning. It’s not just something to put on a resume, it’s something to add to yourself, and to your identity. An identity that doesn’t have a script, it doesn’t have a checklist of what should be there, or what should be said.
In the spirit of celebration, but also with a heavy heart, I write this to not only discuss graduation but to say goodbye to a group of people that have given my semester meaning as well. Lauren Jeu, Anthony Maranise, Dominick Platt, and I have worked tirelessly this semester to put forth the best Galleon experience we could. These seniors have shown their talent, and their drive for excellence and teamwork. This is our last article of the semester, and we could not let it go by without a statement. These last words from our senior editors are about their experience, their success, even through the trials and pain of life as they near their walk across the stage.
Anthony Maranise: Masters of Arts in Catholic Studies
I’ve spent a combined total of 7 years at CBU; 4 as an undergraduate and 3 in pursuit of my graduate degree (as was the nature of our program – 3 years instead of 1 and a half).
In that 7 years, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined – both of academic theology, personal faith, and even quite a bit about myself as a person, but as a wise-professor and mentor often tells his students (and has even told me before), “For as much as we believe we can know through our degrees and education, what we often find out is how little we know.”
I believe this to be true. There is so much more to learn… and things that, on this side of eternity, we will never know.
However: one thing I know for certain is that I could never be a nihilist. For me, in all I have learned and perhaps even more, in what I have experienced personally, life is truly pregnant with meaning.
I don’t believe in coincidence, but instead in “divine providence.” That said, I feel it important to share this:
I suffered through two significant heartbreaks in the years of my undergraduate tenure at CBU; the last of which was right before graduation. As a graduate student, the same thing occurred. I suffered again through two significant heartbreaks; the most recent one still being a fresh wound… and right, again, before graduation.
I will stress that out of these 4 heartbreaks: one was a family issue, one was a friendship issue, one was the death of a best friend, and the most recent was the loss of a romantic relationship.
My reason for sharing such personal details in this brief reflection about my time at CBU is because each one of these significant and life-altering events involved loss, yet, still, I am capable of faith in the goodness of people and this life, but above all, in God; still, I am capable of hope that brighter and more consistent days lie ahead; and still, I love.
Note that I didn’t say that I was just capable of loving. I love. I used that word, quite intentionally, as a verb. I love. Even the people who have caused my heartbreaks, I still and always will love them.
So, in my final analysis as a CBU student (because I would thoroughly like to instruct here one day – HINT, HINT “Human Resources”), let me simply offer this:
No amount of academic knowledge will ever be what we cling to when we have nothing else. It will only ever be love. And for me, “God is Love.” The Divine Presence is involved wherever genuine love is present.
I learned the importance of that here at CBU and that single reality alone will carry me forth through all things, sorrowful and joyous. Only, always… Love.
Dominick Platt: Creative Writing
Man, is it time? I’ve never seen time warped in such a way that it’s gone both so quickly and yet at a snail’s pace. This has probably been the four longest years of my life, for both good and bad. I can now crank out essays like a well-oiled machine, but I’ve become such a better writer I can’t pump out stories because I scrutinize my work so much. And, between my bouts of homelessness over the years and doing work in that classroom, I’ve probably spent more time in the LLC than any of its residents. I won’t miss it. But I will miss the great people I met here, both the students and the faculty. Those crazy folks still on the third floor of Barry are the reason to go here, and I’ve never made better friends than two people who still put up with me. You know who you are. However, I think the thing I’ll miss the most about CBU is the ability to wear shorts and flip flops every day. After seeing the horrors of America’s corporate world, that’s the one thing I know I took for granted.
Lauren Jeu: Natural Science with minors in graphic design and visual arts
My parents used to always joke that I was on the slow track compared to my sister, who graduated both high school and college before my high school graduation. Just the other day my mom said to me “Man, four years went by fast!” And I couldn’t agree with her more.
It feels like yesterday that I met some of my favorite professors and some of my best friends on the very first day of college. I was a bit shy coming in, but I truly believe that I have come into my own over my time at CBU. If you told me freshman year that I was going to accomplish all the things I have, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve grown as a leader through the Honors Program board of directors and as VP of Communications as well as being the President of Tri-Beta. I’ll be receiving my Honors diploma at graduation and have been named a Lasallian Fellow, a dream of mine since day 4 at CBU.
But at the end of it all, it is the memories and relationships that I have made here that I will take with me after I leave. I’ve had such amazing professors who care about me as an individual and want me to succeed. I’ve had quite a few mentors who help me in my career path. Over just this past year, I have grown closer to the Brothers, the very people who make CBU so unique. And I have a handful of good quality friends who I can confide in and laugh with (and sometimes cry with over our textbooks).
I may not have been the best test-taker but it is the lessons of faith, service, and, most importantly to me, community, that I will remember long after graduation. The lessons I learned from my peers and professors, the compassion that they have taught me – that is what it means to enter to learn and to leave to serve. I will take what I have learned from my experiences out into the world and hope to make it better.
All in all, I will miss my time at CBU and coming here every day. I commuted for 4 years, but every time I step on campus, I feel like I am at home. To quote my favorite TV show, Once Upon a Time, “Home is the place, when you leave, you just miss it.” I am definitely going to miss CBU come May 13th. Thank you for giving me a home and a family with whom to share it with.
Happy Graduation Lauren, Anthony, and Dom! I know you all will go out and work in your worlds with the same talent, competency, and excellence that you did here at the Galleon. As a quarter of the well-oiled machine we all were working together, I say it has been a pleasure to co-produce the Galleon with you all.
Congratulations CBU seniors! As a last parting gift, I want to leave everyone with a few words from a very smart man:
“And will you succeed?
Yes, you will, indeed,
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)
Kid, you’ll move mountains.
So...be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!”
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go”