Nancy Michelle AuBuchon:
Graduate Student Speaker
Hasn't everything been done before? Maybe you should give up. Take off your robe. Lie down in the dirt. Let the grass grow around you. Don't go into the world. Hasn't every story been written? Every song? Aren't we just recycling air? But more importantly who are you anyway? What can you give? And why should you even try?
You think about what you've learned at Sarah Lawrence. You realize you've spent your time creating your own path. Creating your own associations to understand the world. Sometimes pairing ideas that surprise you, that surprise others.
Keep doing this. Go further. Embrace the strange. I dare the artists, the scientists, and the writers to connect disparate concepts. What will you find?
Think about your years at Sarah Lawrence. Remember that your brain has managed to surprise you time and time again. So trust yourself, but continue to feed your brain. Listen to the world. Read books. Have conversations. And remember that nothing is off limits to you.
Trust that you are an original. No one sees the world like you. The way you connect ideas is unique to yourself. The world needs you. It is your charge and your obligation to be an original. Otherwise, you are recycling air.
We are all writers of stories. The decisions we make, the selections we make cannot be made by anyone else. One day, maybe very soon, you will be sitting alone in a room and you will feel like you have nothing. You will feel like a small speck in the world with nothing to give, but then you will remember how you have learned to think, and you will realize that you actually have everything, because you have the power to make things. Make ideas. Make thoughts.
I dare you to surprise others with the things that you make, but most importantly, I dare you to surprise yourself.
On behalf of the graduate students, congratulations on your graduation. To our teachers, we love you, we thank you, and you will always be in our hearts.