Megan Hinsch, the president of ASMC and senior student speaker, spoke at this year’s Convocation on Friday, September 27 at 10:15 a.m. at Holmgren Meadow. Hinsch shared the stage with Megan Brown, the MFA student speaker, and Kimberley L. Phillips, the new Provost and Dean of Faculty.
Read her republished speech below.
Thank you President DeCoudreaux, Dean Stiglitz, and Provost Phillips for those welcoming words as we celebrate the 161st year of Mills! Welcome family, friends, mentors, professors, faculty and staff… those who could be here with us today, and those who could not.
As French novelist Marcel Proust said: “Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now.”
And here we are! At an annual event that calls for us to be present in this moment, while also acknowledging the past — recalling all of the experiences, trials, and individuals who have helped us get to this very place. The moment we welcome back Mills alumnae, continuing students, eager first-years, new transfer students, and the dedicated group of faculty, staff, professors and administrators who have provided us with the tools to succeed in so many ways. An event to remember, to take a breath, and to stride forward.
Remembering, breathing, and striding forward — all reflective and guiding processes to help us appreciate how far we have come and how much we have changed since first setting foot on the beautiful Mills campus.
As I was packing up my life to move Mills as a first-year, my family, friends, neighbors, and teachers kept telling me I would be changed forever by the time I graduated. I didn’t understand why or how I would change. I really liked the person that I was. I sat in the seats of Littlefield Concert Hall during the Convocation of 2010, feeling unbelievably nervous and completely and utterly unprepared for all of this change I was going to experience.
And look at us now! Scholars, leaders, activists and advocates… artists, physicists, educators, future doctors, journalists, and novelists… still true in our core, but different somehow after experiencing the demands and magic of Mills. From the moment we became Mills Cyclones, we have all been encouraged to challenge ourselves. Encouraged to take risks in classroom discussions, to jump into a leadership position in a club or organization, to advocate for others. To push up against what we know and what is comfortable. To strive to become more than we already are.
We have grown as citizens of the world who will march forward on paths that extend to the all corners of our world. Mills transforms the many aspects of its students in a unique and magical way that has manifested into the current students who sit before me today, just as it has transformed those who have come before us, and how it will affect all who will come after.
As the class of 2014 concludes this chapter of higher education, it will be easy to get lost in our work, our plans for the future, and the excitement of graduation. However, as today brings this year into focus, it is important to recall Proust, and remember to be present in the moments and experiences that this year has to offer. So in the spirit of Mills, I want to challenge the senior class to do just that. To “not wait for life,” but “be aware… at every moment” and to appreciate all of the experiences that this year will bring.
Check out the photos The Campanil took of this year’s Convocation here.