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May 20, 2008

2008 Senior Memoirs: Jennifer Roman

The University at Albany-SUNY's 2008 Undergraduate Commencement.

Jennifer Roman was among the undergraduates receiving degrees during the University at Albany's 164th Undergraduate Commencement ceremony in May. (Photo by Joel Glickman and Edward Haddad)

In the summer of 2004, I attended freshman orientation, wondering what I would do with the rest of my life.  I had just returned from a year in Europe as an exchange student and was clueless about my future.  I wondered what the University at Albany could offer me. That night at orientation, at a dance party in the Campus Center, I found a list of all the clubs and organizations that I could join on campus, from intramural sports to Student Association, to multicultural clubs.  I signed up for more information about a few clubs, one of them being the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program.  As I look back today, I realize that it was one of the best decisions I made at orientation.  We were told at orientation to make the best of college, but what does that really mean?  Now I realize that it is the opportunities that you create for yourself that make or break your college years.  By simply signing my name on a list, I opened a door to opportunity.

I joined Middle Earth to train as a hotline counselor my freshman year.  Through Middle Earth, I was able to present at national conferences, participate in the Relay For Life and become a more involved member of the University community. It was in the Middle Earth hotline room where I met a diverse group of friends; we all found that even though we may come from different walks of life, we all share similarities with one another. My junior year, I became a Resource Trainer, training other students to work on the hotline.  Here I learned that even though we may only be students, we can still teach each other something.  This past year, I served as the President of Middle Earth, something that I would have never imagined as a freshman.  By signing my name on a list and pursuing opportunities, I began my successful college career, which has brought me here this evening, in front of you. 

Most of us sit here today with similar stories of success that were afforded to us at the University at Albany.  Whether it be internships, scholarships, leadership positions, or study abroad, most of these achievements began by simply reaching out and pursuing our goals.  Although our undergraduate careers are coming to a close today, we will need to seize future opportunities throughout the rest of our lives.  Some of us will continue off to graduate school, medical school, or law school.  Others have already found their next opportunity in a career or internship. 

Even though our paths may diverge, there is one thing that we share.  We will always remember what we learned here at our alma mater, and the many people who helped us along the way.  To the faculty and staff at the University at Albany and our families and many friends, thank you for your support throughout our undergraduate careers.  To the class of 2008, I wish you the best of luck in the next chapter of your life.  Donít ever forget the skills that you learned from your professors, advisers and peers. Become involved in something new, say hello to an unfamiliar face, teach someone something, and contribute to your community.  Pursue new opportunities and continue to challenge yourself, but donít forget to follow your dreams.  Your future, and in fact, the world, is within your reach.

Spring Commencement Video: Reaching Forward

2008 Senior Memoirs: Zakhar Berkovich

2008 Senior Memoirs: Nick Fahrenkopf

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