Kyle Hartman Presents Student Address at Poole Celebration
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Kyle Hartman, a spring 2012 NC State Poole College graduate, was among the hundreds whose parents were waiting for their children to walk across the stage, shake hands with Poole College’s dean, Dr. Ira Weiss, and then head home for a family celebration.
What his parents didn’t know is that Hartman had been selected to present the 2012 remarks on behalf of his fellow students. It gave him an opportunity to give a Happy Mother’s Day shout-out to his Mom as he reflected on his years as an NC State Poole College student and the road ahead. His remarks follow.
It’s odd standing up here realizing that not long ago we were taking this same walk across the stage of our high schools. Back then we were all thinking about college, a word that envisioned independence, exploration, risks, and rewards. Remember that nervous excitement of moving away from home and going off to college, that feeling of being introduced to an unfamiliar environment? Of course you remember, because we all feel it again today.
As we look back, I hope that college brought everyone years of enjoyment, filled with unforgettable experiences, because today, another realization kicks in. We must look forward as we are given a clean slate and the next stage our life begins.
Up until today, numbers and letters on a sheet of paper were what determined success and competence. Grades paved the path that led you to the seat you sit in today. As we leave this room, triumph will no longer be measured in a numerical value. For many of us, the GPA that once defined us will no longer be relevant.
What will be relevant is the practical aspect: A vision for a career, a new perspective on life, and a framework of colleagues that have the opportunity to give us an advantage as we attempt to shape a career.
Many people think that success is defined by whom you know; that connections are the route to a successful life. And truth be told, they may be right, but regardless those connections don’t just fall in to your lap. Networking with the right people takes the confidence to believe that you have something that can positively impact someone else. You have the ability to offer them something that no one else can.
As we leave here today, I want you to remember three things… stay hungry… stay curious…and stay positive.
As we grow into our respective careers, the degree that we have received today will never leave us. By attending this university we have become stakeholders in this company. Your diploma is your stock, and over the years NC State’s growth will have a direct reflection on its value. While it may be the job of the deans and the chancellor to increase the value of that stock, it’s up to us to enhance its image. Take what you have learned here and apply it. But do not stop there. Set yourself apart from the competition by putting yourself in a position to succeed.
The Bill Gates & Warren Buffets of the world are slowly fading out as our generation fades in. And it is our responsibility to take on the challenges and create the innovations that will pave the way for future generations. Stay hungry, success only comes to those who truly want it.
Let’s be honest, after college, most of us don’t know exactly what we want to do. Some of us have jobs, some are still looking, and some probably haven’t even thought about it. And that uncertainty can be frightening. But don’t let that uncertainty hold you back. Let it inspire you to do something great.
The opportunity to create something innovative takes the ability to see things in a different perspective. You need the courage to deter the negativity and believe that you have what it takes to change something.
Ask yourself, how can I improve things? What does it take to get to the next level? Stay curious; keep searching for the next answer.
Your goal as you leave this room doesn’t have to be changing the world and starting the next fortune 500 company, but finding something that you enjoy. People measure prosperity in many ways but its true value comes down to your own personal assessment. Appreciate what you do.
The pressure to find the perfect job after graduation overwhelms the majority of graduates. When in reality, the job that we have lined up today will almost certainly not be the job that will define our careers. Use it as a building block as you find your passion. If your instincts tell you you’re not in the right place, keep moving. Life is too valuable to waste doing something you don’t enjoy.
When it’s all said and done, our relationships with friends and positive connections with colleagues will be the true measure of happiness. Let people inspire you, learn from them and act in a way to inspire other people. Stay optimistic, life can be a beautiful ride and time is a unique advantage that we all share.
College provided us with a background that allows us an opportunity to put our foot in the door. Have confidence in the degree that you have attained from N.C. State. State is a progressive university that is constantly making an impact in our community, locally and globally. From academic to athletics, N.C. State is moving in the right direction. You worked hard and earned your education from this university, be proud to tell people that you’re a NC State graduate.
It’s impossible to look forward and know that everything will work out fine. Our past decisions can help us shape our future choices. But at this point in time as we leave this room today, our path will ultimately be shaped by the present. The decisions that you make today will affect your life tomorrow. And as you make these decisions, remember to stay hungry, stay curious, and stay positive. Congratulations and go State!
Kyle Hartman, spring 2012 Poole College Student Commencement Speaker