By Carrie Mahoney, 2012-2013 Chapter President
Well here it is the end of my college career. Graduation is a week away and I can’t believe it is over. The end of college always seemed like a far off finish line, the mountain on the horizon that was never getting closer but then all at once I am on top of the mountain. However the view from here is quite different. I see at last that this mountain top is only the first in an ever-growing range longer than the Rockies and that finish line is only a drink stand in my first mile of a marathon. How foolish it was of me to race through this leg of my journey, to view it as an obligation and hindrance instead of a gift. But that’s hindsight right?
I won’t sit here and reminisce what could have been, instead I will leave my chapter and friends with the final lessons that I have learn here at Salem State University. While at first they may seem contradictory I will advise that they are not. It will be a constant struggle between the two thoughts but the battle will only make it more memorable.
The first is quite predictable but it is a lesson that I have struggle with since high school. Never tire of excellence. I used feel ashamed sitting in a classroom, having received the only A on a paper surround by an ocean of C’s. I would shrink back into my seat and quickly shove that proud mark into my bag. When did we become ashamed of a job well done? We should not be. There is nothing embarrassing about achievement and no shame in success. Throughout our lives people will try to tear us down, to belittle us, to interrupt our journey; do not help them. Be strong for yourself because there will be times when no one else will. Be proud of your accomplishments because people will not always recognize them. Never tire of excellence, of distinction from your fellow man. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” This should be our goal; to strive for excellence and not be satisfied with anything less. Hold yourself to your own standards and not the minimum that is set by those around us. We are each destined for great lives, make the most of that.
The second lesson is a little simpler; don’t let the moment ruin the whole. It can be easy to get caught up in the here and now, but we must remember that the here and now is ever changing. We must seize every opportunity no matter how tired or stressed or unsure we are. So apply for that extra internship and try out to be a speaker at commencement. You might not succeed at everything you try, but what if you do? Don’t lean too much the other way though. I am not suggesting that you always blow off class but once in a while go crazy on a random Monday night. And skip a lecture or two and go to the beach. It is these moments that we are able to breathe, to remember why it’s all worth it. Looking back you never remember how tired you were after a sleepless night but you do remember the adventures you took.
Life is special, each and every day of it. We will never fully appreciate the stage we are in but we can try. And we can make looking back on the memories a whole lot sweeter. Thank you to my chapter for all the lessons you have taught me and my friends and family for your constant support. It has been an honor being a part of each of your lives and a privilege to be your president for the past year. I will miss you all.