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Humanities and Social Sciences Grad Commends the Class of 2022 for Persevering Through Adversity

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student Commencement Speech
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Adelia Jones, B.A. humanities and social sciences

I had a difficult time finding the prefect words, the whole “memorable words” with the vibe of both Michelle Obama and Cardi B. But, I won’t. My mom would not be happy. Don’t worry. I’m sure there will be talk of long nights studying and early morning classes after amazing parties.

You, WE, have not just accomplished getting a degree. We have also done so during a time where we were experiencing change at astronomical levels, from death, sickness, cultural uprisings, and political strife to trying to navigate new ways of virtual life, education, and careers. Yet, we succeeded, we thrived, and we persevered. Sitting here today, take the time to commend yourself. Perseverance is a skill that cannot be purchased.

The word “perseveres,” in my world, takes me home to my grandmother, whose name is also Adelia. I didn’t think I would get to share this day with the person I share a name with. Yet, here I am now. Nice to meet you, Elder.

My grandmother would gather fruits and vegetables then pressure cook them so that, even when the trees and fields were bare, her family was able to be sustained. Like coal to diamonds, under pressure many things are made stronger. That’s what we have done here, even during a time when others gave up, stopped, or were not able to continue.

You, WE, persevered. You were able to defend your mental health, safeguard your emotional well-being, and kept going. This chapter of life was just like other battles. It was not easy, simple, nor was it always pretty. It came with tears, sweat, bruises, and wounds.

The scars that follow the wounds are symbols of healing to be worn with honor, to show the world that at times when others failed to keep going, with fearlessness and strength, we not only succeeded, we thrived and we persevered like the Titans we are. Congratulations!