By: Mohamed Dungersi, Associate Student Editor
The following address was delivered by one of our student editors on behalf of the students at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences as a welcome to St. John’s University to students of the classes of 2016 and 2018.
Dean Zito, Administrators, Faculty Members, and students of the classes of 2016 and 2018, Good Afternoon! On behalf of the students at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome each one of you to our esteemed college.
As I stand here today, I fondly remember my very own student convocation ceremony from August of 2007—it was indeed a significant moment in my life. Simply, making the transition from a high school to a university student was a daunting, yet very exciting, experience. I had left the safe haven of home and traveled across the world with the hopes of living out a dream. The next 5 years that followed have been life changing for me. With every passing year, I found myself challenged to a greater degree and this has contributed to positive and invaluable growth in me. I can safely say that the next years of your life will become the vital foundation to enable you to grow into exemplary healthcare providers.
As it has been famously put: “Even the longest journey starts with the first step.” Today, I congratulate you, as you have taken that very first step. The destination and length of your journey is now in your control. Of course, twists and turns will come and go, and depending on how you navigate through them, they will define you! The next couple of years in college will surely be a challenging journey. You will hit roadblocks, but never lose sight of the destination of your journey. It will not be easy, but I encourage you to never look down and to persevere in your interests.
I can assure you that the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is committed to making your experience as worthwhile as it can be and that you will receive nothing but the best. You will learn in state-of-the-art facilities and receive great, quality education from enthusiastic faculty – some of whom will serve as lifelong mentors. At certain points during your time here, you will have the unique opportunity to be a part of our exciting study abroad programs. And when it is time for you to venture out of the classroom into the healthcare setting, you will have an incredible diversity of top institutions to choose from for your clinical rotations.
Along with all of these, your education here will encompass the humble teachings of the Vincentian spirit and the importance of service to humanity. Do keep in mind that these elements are necessary to develop one’s self before becoming a healthcare professional.
As you begin your journey, I urge you to make the most of each opportunity you receive. It is indeed an opportunity in itself just to be able to begin college. You have a clean slate to start from with no presumptions about you—make the most of it. If you didn’t study as hard in high school, study harder. If you were not as involved in extra-curricular activities, then college offers you more chances. With a plethora of student organizations, you can be sure to find your place in a variety of professional, academic, cultural, or religious organizations. If you were not as involved in community service, venture through one of a multitude of service programs, and find the solace that comes with giving back to the community.
As I alluded earlier, keep in mind that you define your college experience! So, explore the unknown: step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to greater heights.
Many have claimed that the time you spend in college is the best time of your life. I cannot verify this, but what I can guarantee you is that your years in college will go by very quickly. And once they’re over, you will not be able to have them back. So, do not hesitate or let opportunities leave your sight.
I will leave you with the wise words of Mark Twain. He once said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I wish each one of you the best of luck as you begin your journey! Thank you for your time!