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Danielle Meyers’ “Spoken Word” Commencement Address

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A highlight of Stony Brook’s 2016 Commencement ceremony was student speaker Danielle Meyers, who entered Stony Brook via the Foster Care system and is now graduating with a BSW. She will enter the graduate program in Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare with advanced standing in the fall. President Stanley praised Meyers’ academic achievements and commitment to EOP/AIM and other Stony Brook programs devoted to social mobility.

A talented spoken word artist, Meyers spoke to the Class of 2016 in verse, asking them to “reflect on their freshman state of mind” and consider how far they have come, and have yet to go.

Here’s a transcript:

Good morning, my fellow Seawolves, family members, faculty and staff.
It is my humbling honor to welcome the spring 2016 graduating class!

I’d like to start by saying that you all look great
Although I’m sure most of my fellow Seawolves probably spent finals week staying up late
But we’re all here right now, so let’s cherish the date
May 20th, 2016 …. BUT WAIT!

Back in time
To my freshman state of mind
…when I had no idea what I wanted to major in
Much reflection
Made me question
What was going to be my chosen profession?
Should I become a lawyer, doctor, or a politician?
Are any of those choices my true passion?

Back in time
…to when I thought that college was all about studying for exams
Trying to cram
…3 months of information into my mind the night before a test
Retaining nothing but stress.
Yet on the weekends I would choose parties over rest.
I call that socialization at its best.

Back in time
…to when I gained weight just from eating so much food.
I wouldn’t blame campus dining, but being hungry was always the mood
Especially being a college student with no time to meal prep.
So I’d eat ramen for dinner because I couldn’t afford any more debt.

Back in time
…to when I would skip one class just to do work for another one
And just when I thought college was fun
All I could say was, “I can’t wait to be done”

And today, that day has finally come…

But see , when I rewind back the time!
When I rewind back the time!
When I rewind back the time!

I wanna,
Play the moments I’ve had here with my friends
Pause the memories that I’ll remember ’till the end
Stop the pain we feel for those we’ve lost
And replay the happy times because a smile has no cost.

And when I rewind
Back the time
To my freshman state of mind
What I find

…Is that I’ve learned so much since then

See college is a period of growth that will challenge your perception
I’ve learned that a degree means nothing if you can’t back it up with the right education
I’ve learned that change is inevitable and it’s important to pursue your passion
So I challenge you all to reflect on your freshman state of mind and how have you changed since then?Remember that change is inevitable when you are in a state of progression.
Because in college and life, your experience is the only professor that gives you the test before the lesson.

Thank you.

And remember, that although we will all take on different career paths in life, what makes us all the same is that we have become graduates of one of the nation’s top universities in the country.

That alone brings us all together today despite our individuality.

And what’s Seawolf now is a Seawolf forever.

For we are all SEAWOLVES and we are tough together!



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