Kacie Arndt-Ellensburg Afternoon Commencement 2013

Hello class of 2013!

Finally! I am so proud to be standing here in front of you all. It is with all my heart I say to you, congratulations! Central Washington University has been my dream college since I was in High School, and now after being here throughout my Bachelors degree, and now starting a Masters program, Central Washington University has become my second home. This University is filled with wonderful teachers, advisors, counselors, and fellow students who have motivated and supported one another’s goals and dreams. So I thank all of you for believing in us and not giving up on our goal of gaining a higher education.

Today we can say goodbye to parking tickets, to walking into pop quizzes, to countless redbull’s to get through exams and papers, and goodbye to the CWU walls that surrounded us all these years, bettering our lives and future opportunities. Now, we can say hello to our new lives ahead. Hello to the career opportunities and to living a better healthier life. Our journey that led us here today has been challenging but also an exciting adventure.

I can proudly say that I am a first generation college graduate. With help from The Bill Gates Foundation, the TRIO program, and the academic assistance from Arthur Manjurrez, Dr. Dowd and Mr. David Douglas, I am able to successfully and professionally represent myself here today, and in my future career interviews. I am also overwhelmingly appreciative for the most phenomenal and inspirational people in my life. Those people are my mom, dad, Joe, grandma, sisters, and my better half Djay, thank you for always being there for me.

Thinking back on my obstacles, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Coming to school you have stressors to get through. The stressors from your peers and professors to present your best self is huge. I wanted to present myself throughout my courses as sophisticated, on point, completed early, and with future questions that would be of benefit to future students. However I did make mistakes, turn in late work, and have been marked absent due to the teacher not seeing me. When it came to my peers I had the stress to impress and fit in as well.

In the beginning I stated I have to laugh at myself with these stressors. This is because those stressors were all in my head. I have fought with my confidence and in my head everything seemed bigger then it was. In reality my biggest obstacle was not the peer pressures of fitting in, or of being the ideal student, it was what I put upon myself. I have grown to realize that it is alright to make mistakes and to not have 100 friends. I can laugh at myself today and keep fighting to be more confident through life. So I am telling all of you today that when you get in the real world with your awesome careers, don’t forget that just being you is alright and don’t add any unnecessary stressors. 

When you look back at your yesterdays, think about all of your challenges, frustrations, and achievements you have pushed through, and be proud of who you are today. Know that we have all made it through together and that it can only get more exciting each day. I encourage you all to keep learning, listening, and educating others. As well as never giving up on pursuing your dreams. As you are all well aware, hard work, determination, passion, and support from others can make your dreams come true. Now let’s graduate together!