Senior looks ahead to new experiences in future

By Stefan Ivanovski

Contributing Writer

As a senior about to graduate, I am very proud to have studied at our University. The professors here are truly inspiring. I have learned a tremendous amount from my experiences and I feel that I have made many life-long connections with both faculty and students. I could go on and on about my experiences at the University, but this is not what I would like to talk about.

Rather, I would like to focus on three things I think every University student should take with him or herself once they embark on their post-college journey: vision, solidarity and responsibility.

Some of us may already have plans after graduation, some may not. It is normal that we feel lost in a world that is constantly changing. I believe one important aspect to keep in mind after graduation is to have a vision. Everyone should have some general idea of what they want to do in life, what kind of a mark they will leave in the world. Think about what you want to do and how it is going to impact other people? How do you want to be remembered in life?

For example, I would like to make a positive difference in the world. I know this is broad, but I like to leave it more open-ended and flexible. At this point, I think helping people get quality education lies at the roots of contributing to a lasting positive change in peoples’ lives. At the University, as we all already know, time really flies. Before we know it, we will find jobs and settle down, and it is important not to get consumed by our daily lifestyles. Having a vision gives us some sense of purpose in this world. Each day, we are learning something about ourselves and about others around us. We start to understand what we like to do and what we don’t like to do, which can help us shape our respective visions. Whatever our vision is, it is important that it is inclusive of the broader humanity. We as individuals are shaped by the relationships we form with other people. For this reason, one important thing to keep in mind is that every vision is not viable. This is where the principles of solidarity and responsibility come in.

I feel indebted to my family, friends, professors, staff and University alumni for all the successes here. I know I cannot repay financially the gift of education that the University community has extended to me. But, I know there are other ways I can make a difference. I can volunteer, teach and work to help people have better lives, especially through acquiring quality education. Sharing my time, knowledge and experiences with those less fortunate is what I can do at the current moment. I am really motivated and inspired when I can put a smile on someone’s face or when someone has learned something from me. It is truly inspiring when people see you as a role model in their life. At this point in my life, I may not have a lot of money, but I can definitely use my knowledge, skills and connections I made while at the University. This summer, my friend José Saavedra ’13 and I will be teaching creativity and 2D animations to high school students in Puerto Rico through the Davis Projects for Peace.

I believe that we are all connected in this world. For instance, we would not be as successful at the University had it not been for all the work people do behind the scenes. Without the work that the facilities personnel do maintaining the vast infrastructure here, the cafeteria personnel who feed us and the professors who teach us, we would not have accomplished what we have accomplished.

From these relationships and the support of our family, friends and the University community, I think we have the responsibility to pass the favor forward. In the future, we will be in places of responsibility in schools, hospitals, labs, offices, consulting firms, etc. We need to make sure that what we do is not only good for ourselves, but for the people around us as well. The fact that other people made it possible for us to study here bestows upon us a sense of responsibility that we have to make the University and the world a better place than we found it. We’ve gained valuable knowledge, skills, connections and resources. It is our task to put them to work.

Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  But, I would add something to Gandhi’s statement. Be mindful of the people around you and how what you do may affect their lives.

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