By Barbara Hewitt
Commencement has always seemed like an odd word for graduation to me, because in many ways it can feel more like an ending than a beginning. The four years of hard work have paid off – you’ve finished your “final” finals, written your last papers, and have been deemed sufficiently educated to leave West Philadelphia with an official University of Pennsylvania degree. Not only are the educational elements of the past four years drawing to a close, but the late nights with friends, the hours spent involved with student groups, and the countless other activities to which you have devoted your time during the last four years will also be changing, if not outright ending. It can be a bittersweet time.
But I love the idea of hope and new beginnings that is expressed in the word commencement. New doors are opening for graduates, moving on to different cities (and countries!), new jobs or exciting graduate programs. Some of you may opt to spend a few months travelling or volunteering to gain a new perspective. Some of you are still trying to determine exactly what your next step will be, which is perfectly fine. We know that Penn graduates go on to amazing endeavors and accomplishments after graduation and give back to society in many ways. Truly the time spent at Penn is great preparation for an even greater post-Penn era. I wish all of our graduates a wonderful and fulfilling new beginning, and look forward to hearing about all the amazing things you will go on to do. Best wishes on your graduation and beyond…..