Nick Cream '07
May 13, 2007
I have had mixed emotions about this day in the past few months. Among these feelings were sadness, regret, relief and happiness. After some serious consideration, I have realized that the only emotion we should actually be thinking about is gratitude.
For four years we have been exposed to some of the most caring, intelligent, active, enlightening, dedicated and loving people, in the forms of other students, faculty members, staff members and people of the Geneva community. I have also come to the realization that even though I may have learned a good deal in my time at William Smith and Hobart, the most important thing I have learned is how to love.
Not just how to love in the romantic, Romeo and Juliet sense, but how to love your fellow human being and how to extend this love to your career in the form of directly helping other people through service or on a broader level by changing policy or other social structures. We have learned how to love other cultures through immersion in societies completely different than ours. We have learned how to love knowledge and have gained a good deal of it from experiences in the classroom as well as enlightenment outside of the classroom that we could have never imagined. We have learned the value of love as something that can be internalized and used for personal strength or used outwardly as a vehicle for change.
Love is often times overused or underused. You might say I love you because it seems like the right thing to do. Or you might think you shouldn’t say it because it will lose some of its meaning. Well, I know that if I have learned one thing in four years, it is that there is not enough love in this world. Love should not be scary, it should be something that everyone can embrace, and something that everyone can notice on a daily basis.
The point is we are ready to use this love outside of our college experience. As a friend of mine told me, “it’s someone else’s turn.” You know what, he is right. It is someone else’s turn. We have spent four years creating some of the best memories of our short lives, we’ve engendered some of the best relationships that we will ever have and we have certainly had the experience of a lifetime. But that is just it: it is only the experience of a lifetime insofar as it is the starting block, the very foundation of all the wonderful and magical experiences we will have in the future. We have acquired the tool of knowledge and we have come to the realization that what carries this knowledge into effect is love. And we may feel sad that we are leaving, and we may miss this place when it’s gone, but the fact is that we have been molded and changed so that we can be independent and socially conscious members of the world we will soon be the leaders of.
I have loved my time here and at the same time I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be able to use my experience to change the world. Is this cliché? Of course, but that does not take away from its value. Our generation has been misunderstood and misrepresented and even though we have not reached the age of 25 we will soon be the ones in charge of the important decisions and we cannot forget our experience as college students and the ways in which Hobart and William Smith have prepared us for whatever the world hurls at us, by giving us the great gift of knowledge but more importantly the greatest gift of all: love.