Commencement always serves as an opportunity to reflect upon what we do at SNHU, how we do it and, most importantly, WHY we do it. I often tell new employees that Commencement is the ultimate celebration of our students’ successes and a truly visual demonstration of why we exist.
For graduates, walking across the stage is symbolic and important, but it is not really about the journey to a defined finish line. While graduates may pause for a moment to collect their diplomas and shake the hand of our president, they then continue on. The path of learning doesn’t end. Nor does our support and care for our graduates.
Recently one of our associate deans commented that it was important for students to recognize that struggles in the classroom are often a part of the learning process. That point stands out to me because each year as I talk with our graduates about their experiences, they share their successes and the struggles they surpassed to get here.
Our graduates talk about doing their homework late at night after putting their children to bed. They talk about reaching out to their advisor in a panic because their computer crashed and they lost the paper they had almost finished. They talk about the fear they had facing statistics and the help they got from their instructors. They talk about juggling work, family, their children’s activities and school. They talk about the attempts they made prior to coming to SNHU and not believing that they could succeed. And then they talk about the grit, the courage and the persistence required to get to graduation.
For many of our students, the struggles are part of the journey. To get to the finish line, successful students dig deeper when they face challenges. They use those struggles to fuel them past obstacles. They do not let difficulty stop them in their tracks.
Instead, successful students engage their resources. They reach out for help. They maintain a laser focus on their goals and they believe, fundamentally, that those goals can be achieved. There is learning in these struggles as well; perhaps one of the most important lessons there may be: Learning isn’t easy. We are lucky to be able to continue it throughout our lives. And the grit it takes to persist in spite of hardship will fuel our lifelong success beyond the classroom.
Congratulations to our 2016 graduates. I am humbled by the grit, courage and tenacity you’ve shown as you pursue your goals.
– Amelia Manning
Executive Vice President