Thank you to the UMass Dartmouth faculty for this wonderful opportunity. It is such a great honor to represent the Graduate Class of 2008 today.
When I was asked to deliver this speech, I immediately felt like it was something bigger than me. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to sum up my graduate experience and put it into a three-minute speech. There have been so many challenges, rewards and everything in between.
What I think best describes this experience is the ability for everyone to remain curious in his or her fields. To quote Cormac McCarthy: "To me, the most curious thing of all is incuriosity. I just don't get it."
These curiosities lead me to pursue my Master of Fine Arts in Artisanry at UMass Dartmouth. Making this leap from undergraduate to graduate school was both extremely exciting and terrifying. I choose graduate school to challenge myself by continuing to ask questions, pursue research in my craft and to most importantly nurture creativity.
I was surrounded by this creativity in the graduate studios at the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Star Store Campus in downtown New Bedford. This building allowed for all the MFA graduates in Artisanry and Fine Arts to work together and allow each other to share their knowledge and creative processes in Wood/Furniture, Jewelry/Metals, Fibers, Ceramics, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking. This interconnectivity to the other graduates was tremendously beneficial and rewarding. Especially in my concentration of Ceramics, where I was one of ten graduate students, and we would spend long hours working together in our studios, seeing each other more than our own families.
From these experiences, I've learned the magnitude of my fellow graduates abilities to reveal themselves by sharing their precious time, ideas and generous help. In our field, making art can be extremely personal... and revealing it to others can make you feel very vulnerable at times and my colleagues never let this hinder our relationships. There were always constant and open dialogues of critical feedback, thoughts and ideas.
This community is what makes graduate school so special and significant, especially when the dedicated UMass Dartmouth faculty nurtures this environment. This dedication to education from both the faculty and students are what I believe makes graduate school such a unique experience. Through their mentorship and generous support they provide us with a solid foundation for us to build upon.
All of this could not be possible without the continued and generous support of our families and loved ones, who are very much apart of this experience. We have all worked so hard for this day and have made so many sacrifices along the way. We need to be proud of our families, our fellow graduates and ourselves for everything we have accomplished to reach this day.
For many of us, the degrees we are receiving are the terminal degrees for our field. When I think about this, I start to feel that exciting, terrifying feeling I had while making the transition to graduate school. This next step is the most important as It encompasses all my goals and dreams and marks an unforgettable time in my life. I hope all of you feel the same way and will keep the curiosity that got you here going in whatever you do.
Yesterday, I tried explaining the significance of graduate school; the sacrifices people make to get here, the challenges it provides and rewards it creates to my 19-year-old brother. I left nothing out including how difficult it was to express its importance in this speech. After thoughtful listening, he simply said, "Wow, you guys don't mess around."
Thank you and Congratulations! Good Luck!