To Seniors, with Love

15 days. 15 days stand between us and our diplomas, between us and “the rest of our lives,” as everyone keeps calling it. Since I was five years old, I have been a student. It is all I have known. Imagining not starting a new year of school is somewhat terrifying - but also, incredibly freeing. Once we walk across that stage on May 17, we will no longer be Simmons students and, as our professors have been preparing us for, we will be entering the “real world.” For you, that may mean a full-time job, further education, community engagement that will change the world, or a million other possible paths. But the consensus is clear – starting then, we have to be grown-ups.

 

There is this notion that being grown up means we have to give up that sense of childlike wonder and magic. There’s no time or place for such frivolity. However, I believe keeping that sense of child is crucial if we want to succeed. As children, we strive towards growth and exploration. Just doing things is exciting. And part of this comes from those we learn from in childhood – family and other role models, but even more than that, the fictional characters we spend time with. I believe that some of the most important lessons and values to take into this “real world” can be taken from those characters.

  • Sam I Am taught us to always try new things.

  • Amelia Bedelia taught us not to take everything too literally.

  • Lilo and Stitch taught us that family means nobody gets left behind.

  • Winnie the Pooh and his pals in the hundred-acre woods taught us it is good to stop and play with friends sometimes.

  • Emily Elizabeth and Clifford taught us that dogs are like, actually the best.

  • Hermione Granger taught us it is cool to be smart.

  • The Scooby Gang taught us that everyone has something to offer.

Simmons University is an academic institution that fosters that wonder. Our faculty and programs like SURPASs and the Undergraduate Symposium encourage students to make new discoveries in their fields. Simmons students travel around the world – from Indonesia, to Kenya, to Spain – to explore and gain a greater first hand understanding of the world around them. And now, as we start the rest of our lives, Simmons has supported each and every one of us in pursuing our passions, whether that is one we discovered here, or one we have had inside us all along.

I have taken this mission to keep my childhood fairly literally, as I have accepted a position working at Walt Disney World after graduation. My future colleague Peter Pan’s big takeaway was always to Never Grow Up. That may be a little unrealistic. But never grow up all the way. No matter where you end up tomorrow, or three months from now, or a year from now, just as Simmons has emphasized, keep that magic in your hearts. Congratulations to my fellow members of the Class of 2019!