The Class of 2014 just graduated from the University of Rochester, and I can’t seem to get the words of Senior Class President, James Wu, out of my mind. The Senior Class President gets the distinct privilege of addressing the Class at the Commencement Ceremony, and James did an amazing job capturing the essence of a graduation ceremony. The graduates were of course sad, but James emphasized the importance of 1) remembering how fortunate the graduates were for having spent the past four years together and 2) remembering that it is the journey that must be savored, not the end product or goal.
I wasn’t even graduating and I was sad that my friends were leaving a top private university and the academic opportunities that came along with it, but I understood James’ emphasis on knowing that graduates and affiliates are forever part of the YellowJacket Family, which I hope to be a part of come my graduation next year. James didn’t want the day to be sappy and sad, but rather a day of celebration by celebrating the past four years of achievements, which is exactly what I think a graduation should be. He made his class chuckle, sharing inside jokes from the past four years. There were jokes about meal plans of the past, silly traditions his class had, and of course, jokes about the weather. In all, James’ commencement speech was personal, something special for his class.
Graduation is just a day, but the journey getting there takes much longer. James seemed to urge his class to remember the friends everyone has made, and to remember the goods times, and sad. It’s the journey, knowing who was by your side when you needed them, learning how you grew from those tough times, and understanding your personal growth that really matters. He wanted his fellow graduates to remember that we all have a unique bond: the YellowJacket experience.
James words resonated with me, even as I move toward my own Class of 2015 graduation. The speech was one thing, but I’m so honored to call Senior Class President, James Wu, also one of my closest, lifelong friends, and always a part of the Yellowjacket Family.
“We are the Class of One Four, Always Jackets to the Core. It’s been an absolute honor serving as your class president and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of people to graduate with. Remember the journey and Meliora everyone.” James Wu, 2014 Class President