I would like to begin by acknowledging what an honor it is to have been chosen by this group of incredibly bright, and thoughtful individuals to speak here today.
When you make the decision to come to a place like Marlboro, you must begin to accept what it means to live amongst and be a part of this distinct community of creatives and scholars.
The mugs go missing, broomball leaves bruises and scrapes, and if you haven’t chosen a favorite campus skunk by now, you’re not truly living up here. But Marlboro along with all of its quirks has an unsurprising tendency to attract equally interesting students. “Rugged intellectuals” as we often call them, don’t actually have to be rugged, but are usually intellectual by nature.
It’s important to know, however, that to truly be of Marlboro, all you must do is care. Care about the people up here and make an effort to know them, care about your work because your Plan becomes your life. I implore you to become passionate about what you do and the world you live in, and then ask yourself how you can make it better. Put in what you want to get out, both in the community and in your studies, and you will be successful here.
I arrived at Marlboro almost three years ago as a transfer student halfway through my sophomore year. I was 17 years old and uneager to explain myself or become very involved. I figured that if I made friends I would have to eventually go through the humiliation of telling them how old I was, and it would be over anyway. I didn’t bother trying, but suddenly found myself surrounded by people who shared my views every day. Finding community here was never difficult, because the community finds you. It’s only natural to enter this stage of our lives with fear and apprehension, but I was never made to explain myself here, just asked to be myself.
I am proud beyond words to be a Marlboro alum, and am especially privileged to be here with this graduating class. I truly believe that each and every one of you will go on to find and build community wherever you may be, and whatever it may mean to you. I’m sure that you will make meaningful and unique contributions to your fields, and continue to be allies, activists, and instigators of social change.