I have searched my heart and mind for what I ought to say to you. Do I share what I wished I had known on the eve of my college graduation? If I had sage wisdom perhaps this would be the moment to share that. However, I am still a humble sojourner on this path searching for guidance as well. Instead of inspiring you towards the future, I want to thank you for the legacy you leave here at Mills, and for the powerful influence you have had on my experience as your junior and senior class advisor.
You-the inspiring, intentional, soulful, and brilliant Class of 2009. You are the leaders who held the campus accountable for its mission of social justice. You rallied to go to the nation’s first black president’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. You organized locally and globally. You defined hard work by early crew practices and late nights writing papers. You thought critically and acted as compassionate agents of change. You demonstrated your work ethic by working off campus while still completing your work-study hours. You watched each other’s children so others could actually study. You made Cowell, Haas, the lounges, Tea Shop, Toyon Meadow, and media-to-research labs come alive.
You are parents, partners, scholars, poets, athletes, dancers, activists and friends. You are the class that grilled me during my campus interview two years ago.
YOU ARE MILLS!
Many of you have found your voice, while many of you are still searching. Many of you are struggling with the question of what is next. Remember, “Not all those who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien).
You are best suited to answer that question by sharing the words of Gertrude Stein: “There’s no there.” That elusive “there” with the job, the beach house, the dream, it’s not out there. There is here. It’s in you… right now.
You serve as examples for those who come after you and you carry the legacy of those who came before. For all of these reasons and many more, I want to extend heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2009!
So I end my time with you as your advisor with the words I shared with you at the Senior Pin Dinner: “.when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”(from Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist).
– Sabrina Kwist,
Assistant Director of Student Diversity Programs