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Marian Lorin Mercedes Presents Student Commencement Address

Student commencement speaker Marian Lorin Mercedes with Dean Annette L. Ranft and Associate Dean Tamah Morant
Student commencement speaker Marian Lorin Mercedes with Dean Annette L. Ranft and Associate Dean Tamah Morant

Marian Lorin Mercedes, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting with an internal auditing concentration, was selected to present the December 2016 Student Commencement Address. Following are her remarks.

Good morning faculty, families, friends and fellow graduates. It is an honor to speak to you at this commencement today. I would like to take a quick second to thank our faculty for sharing your knowledge with us and making us feel that we were more than a number.

Most importantly, I want to thank our families. You have given us so much, and we appreciate your love and support. We love you. Speaking of families, my family didn’t know that I was going to be giving this speech today. I wanted it to be a surprise for them. My mom is a politician and my uncle is a pastor; my family loves speaking in public. However, I really don’t like speaking in public. In fact, I have only been speaking English for five years, but somehow I ended up here today because of them. I love you.

Class of 2016, can you believe we are already graduating? It seems like yesterday when we first started and we wanted to get it over with, but now we are here thinking about what life is going to be like outside of Nelson Hall. I think back to when this 7 journey started, and I can’t help to think about how far we have come. Let’s go back to when we first got our acceptance letter in the big envelop saying “WELCOME HOME.” I was so excited, and to think that all we are going to get in the mail now are bills for us to pay. NC State has been our home for the past two, four, six  years or more, but it will continue to be our home forever.

As we celebrate today this great accomplishment, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives, I would like to also celebrate the growing diversity of this educational institution. Diversity is represented here today in each and every one of us, and diversity is so important because we are going to enter a diverse workforce. Coming to NC State we got to meet people from all over the world, and it feels nice to know that you would have a place you can crash if you decide to go abroad. It is my hope as it becomes more diverse it remains strong in providing excellent education to a wide range of people.

Our journey at NC State reminds me so much about the 2016 Rio Olympics and you might wonder why? How does college resemble the Olympics? This is how.

Athletes train really hard with their coaches normally during four years. They train so that they can apply at the Olympics what they have learned during those four years training. Similarly, we decided to jump into this four years’ training at NC State. NC State has equipped us with all the tools we need to be successful in the professional world. From classes such as M100, where we first got our own student and professional mentors and learned about professionalism, diversity and academic success, to classes like strategic management where we learned how to put together everything we learned during the past four years, to be able to showcase our professional knowledge and skills. Today, after four years of training, we are ready to go compete and conquer the professional world.

However, not everything is as easy as it sounds. During those four years, athletes go through a lot of pain, shed a lot of tears and sometimes feel hopeless. How many of us can relate to these feelings during our time in college? Yes, I can.

Think about the endless nights we spent at the library studying for a midterm or a group project. Or what about the feeling of not having done well on an exam. I remember one time I spent the whole weekend studying for an exam, and right after I took it I went straight to my advisor’s office. I think she saw it on my face and without me saying anything, she gave me a couple of tissues, and I just started crying. I told her I wanted to drop out of college (Sorry, Mom!) That advisor encouraged me and told me I had everything to be successful. Here I am.

This four years training’ has ended, and now we are here at the Olympics. The journey has been tough sometimes, but it has been a fun one filled with unforgettable memories. At NC State we had the opportunity to learn from the best professors, meet great people, experience new things, and we became hardcore football fans even tailgating under a hurricane – and we won, by the way. It’s an honor to be graduating from such a great university.

Thinking back to the opening ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics, those athletes were so proud to represent their countries and so excited to obtain a gold medal. Their hard work had paid off. Today, each and every one of us is receiving a gold medal. Our gold medal is our degree. Our hard work has been worthy. I know we are all very proud to go out there and represent our nation – the WOLFPACK nation

So what is next class, of 2016? It is time for us to go out there and seize our dreams. Let’s go out there and make a positive impact. Let’s make an impact on the people around us and in our communities. I want you to go out there and spread your and fly, not as far as you can but as far as you want. Here’s to the nights that turned into mornings in the library, friends that turned into family during the tailgates and dreams that turned into reality today. It is an honor to be graduating from one of the best universities in the nation. Congratulations class of 2016, we have made it. Go PACK!