Bottom row, left to right: Allison Hall, Vystnavi Karri, Lauren Caton, Kaitlyn Gruener, Melysa Barth, Shelley Broman. Middle row, left to right: Nicole Chu, Samantha Meyer, Savannah Kumar, Erica Halpern, Julie Dorland, Rachel Huynh, Divya Ramamoorthy, Amil Malik. Top row, left to right: Caroline Garcia, Jaclyn Kachelmeyer, Miriam Petsch, Amy Enrione, Christle Nwora, Danielle Smith. Not pictured: Larissa Puente, Olivia Arena, Morgan Neustein.
Commencement is this Saturday! What a great time to celebrate the lovely graduates who have helped shape the Orange Jackets reputation and will leave behind many wonderful memories, laughs and accomplishments. Each graduating OJ shared a bit of advice at their "Tap Out" ceremony. It is clear that each woman has grown in knowledge and wisdom at this university and will excel in the next chapter of their lives! Though some of the advice was OJ-specific, there are many that apply to every student at UT. Below are some highlights.
"Buy yourself flowers on rough days and don't feel guilty about naps. Remember the power and beauty of your voice, and your collective voice as Orange Jackets. Challenge yourself and challenge each other to question assumptions and evaluate the work you do through a compassionate, but critical lens. The most uncomfortable conversations allow for the most incredible growth. Please remember that service does not always do good -- service is a privilege and a process. Learn from the communities you are serving because they hold the wisdom to create meaningful social change. Hang out with each other and play IM softball, even if someone has to teach you how to hold the bat!" -Savannah Kumar
"It's OK to not achieve. It's OK to not be in every org or honor society, because your achievements do not define you. It's OK to rest and just be you!" -Kaitlyn Gruener
"Say 'yes' to as many things as possible and then figure out how to prioritize. Find out where your passions lie and fight for a seat at the head of the table. Work as hard as you possibly can and it will pay off in the end. Find the bright side of everything and let the little things go - after all, it's only college." -Allison Hall
"Take care of yourself. You do so much for others every day. Remember that you are every bit worth love, attention, respect and good wine." -Christle Nwora
"We are taught to compete and to be the best, to lead and to achieve - but being human means building each other up and forming communities; providing help to others and knowing when to ask for it yourself." -Jaclyn Kachelmeyer
"Socrates was onto something when he said: 'The unexamined life is is not worth living.' Take time to reflect and think about what you're doing and why. Write down where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years and look back at those goals at least once a semester. Ask yourself, am I doing what I need to do to accomplish these goals? If not, why? Have my goals changed? And if so, is it because of a fundamental change in myself or a superficial outside influence? Do not let outside pressures determine where you want to go. Ever." -Miriam Petsch
"If the grass is greener on the other side, it's time to fertilize your own yard." -Shelley Broman
We hope that as each graduating OJ steps off the Forty Acres, they know their support system still remains, ready to cheer them on, lift them up, and love them wherever they may go. For Texas We Will carry on the Orange Jackets legacy because For Texas They Did!