To the members of the Class of 2023 and your families, I would like to congratulate you on choosing to become a Titan. I promise that you have made the right decision. And to all the parents out there, you are raising your kids right. Good job.
All jokes aside, I will be honest with you, it was a struggle to write this speech because there is just so much, I could say to you all, but I will keep short and to the point. At Westminster, you are more than just a name. You are a friend, an accounting major, a PAC champion, a Disability Awareness Club member, a volunteer, or an honor society member.
The opportunities are truly endless. Ultimately, you get to decide who you want to become and be known as, but at the end of the day, you will always be a Titan who has a purpose. I hope, at some point during your four years here, you develop the love and pride for Westminster that I feel.
There is something that makes Westminster different from any other college. That one thing being that you will always have someone rooting for you from the sideline. You will always matter to somebody on this campus.
I know someone is looking forward to watching you succeed, whether it be a faculty member, a peer, or an orientation leader. There will always be someone. I could continue on for another ten minutes about how much I love Westminster, but I will not put you all through that. So, I will just give you some advice instead.
Tip #1: Stay strong. Many days will be harder than others. You will spend countless nights trying to pull all-nighters. You will get maybe an hour or two of sleep during finals week. You will wait until the last minute to turn in that assignment that you were given a month ago.
There will be days when you want to give up. I get it, I have been there. Do not give up. Push through those difficult days, and you will see how they pay off in the smallest and biggest ways.
As I said before, there are so many people at this college who believe in you and are always willing to help. So, do not be afraid to stay after class, email your professor, or stop by during office hours. That is what they are there for. The faculty is one of the many unique features of Westminster. They truly never stop caring about you. They take the time out to get to know you as an individual. They guide you and build you up.
Their exams may be hard, or there may be too much homework, but they help you succeed in whatever path you take in life. I hope that you each take the opportunity to get to know your professors and allow them to help navigate you through this journey. Who knows, maybe that one professor could be the connection you needed to get your dream job?
Tip #2: Get Involved There is a lot more to do on this campus than you would think. It is just a matter of stepping outside of your dorm room, going out of your comfort zone, and even reading your emails. If for some reason, you find yourself constantly with nothing to do, that is no one’s fault but yours.
I can promise there is some organization or club that suits you. Do not be afraid to try new things. Join the lacrosse team, study abroad, become a tour guide or go to an Allies meeting. Again, your options are endless. Westminster gives you the chance to grow and develop by being involved.
During my first year, I did not participate in much on campus. I stuck with the people I knew the most, in fear that I would not fit in or make any friends. I know it sounds weird, but these are the kind of things that actually happen to us when we move into a new environment. It was when I got more involved on campus that I started to bloom into the person I am now. And here I am today, as President of the Student Government Association talking to all of you. I fully believe that you get out what you put into your experience here.
Tip #3: Enjoy every moment I remember being nine and wishing I was ten, so I could finally be in the double digits. I remember turning ten and Credit: Westminster College Flickr wishing and waiting to turn eighteen. I remember turning eighteen and impatiently waiting to finish high school and move onto college. And now here I am halfway done and shocked because of how fast time has flown by.
Sometimes I wish I could relive the past two years of college. I have met so many amazing people and made memories that I will always hold near. There are times when I still catch myself wishing I could just graduate already, but I know when that time comes, I will wish it was not over. It is much easier to dream about the days that are to come, but it is much more valuable to enjoy life in the moment.
These four years will allow you to create memories that will last you a lifetime. Some will make you laugh, and some will make you cry. So, cherish the memories you make in the TUB during lunchtime and the countless hours you spend in the library each night. Te semesters and years fly by faster than you would think. Before you know it, you will be sitting on the senior terrace waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma finally.
I hope I have not scared you, but rather inspired you, moved you, and made you excited for what is to come. So, to the Class of 2023, this is it. Today marks a new beginning, a new chapter, a new you. Welcome home, Titans.
Megan Parker shared her Opening Convocation speech with The Holcad. She presented it to incoming students, their families, faculty, and staff on August 23 in Orr Auditorium.