Today, I watched my big brother graduate in Kenan Stadium
among a sea of Carolina blue in the Tar Pit. From the inspirational commencement speaker to the Clef Hangers’ rendition of “Carolina in my Mind,” the pageantry of the ceremony was like no other, and the best part was that it was genuine, real. Every wonderful aspect about the University of North Carolina is reinforced by the student body and the rigorous academics that have shaped many men and women to go forth into the world and do amazing things. The pomp and circumstance of the ceremony was necessary to fully celebrate the significance of graduating from such a fantastic school.
Even from the nose-bleeders, I could feel the aura of bittersweetness coming from the Tar Pit. College graduation might possibly be one of the greatest and most tragic days of one’s life. It seemed to be fraught with a fusion of opposite emotions: anxiousness and calm, fear of the future and courage to face the unknown, terror and excitement, the sadness of leaving a life behind and the joy of a new adventure.
Just like every good book has a final page, so do the experiences that define our lives. But you take the relationships, memories, and knowledge that you gain from each experience and bring them with you to the next. In other words, you grow—that’s what I’ve learned from watching my brother live out the last page of his undergraduate experience. Over four years of occasional weekend visits and summer breaks, I’ve watched my brother grow and change and transform into an upstanding gentleman who’s ready to take on the world. I’ve always been proud to call him my brother, but I now feel honored to be able to call myself his sister. He has achieved many things beyond academic success for these past four years, and when he goes to law school in the fall, I know that he will face his new challenges with the same work ethic, tenacity, determination, and Christ-like attitude. I hope to grow as he has when I begin my college journey at UNC-Charlotte in August.
For two years, Ethan has shared a home with four other students. Each one added greatly to the dynamics of the house. They’ve had sitcom-worthy experiences from the weirdest to the most hilarious stories I’ve ever heard. For two years, they’ve taken on Carolina together and soaked in every minute. Each of them will go on to do amazing things in their fields.
I want to thank these guys for never failing to make me feel welcome whenever I visited Ethan for the weekend, and I’m grateful for their constant hospitality and kindness. I’ve always seen them as friends who are like brothers to Ethan, but after really seeing the bond that they have with each other and as a group, there is no doubt in my mind that the guys at 705 Davie are brothers. It just goes to show that family extends beyond blood relations; that God blesses us with brothers and sisters throughout our entire lives. My prayer is that these guys will remain lifelong friends. They love, support, and encourage each other like nothing I’ve ever seen, and their bond brightens up the life of anyone who has the privilege of witnessing their brotherhood. Appreciate the memories of the past and look forward to great times to come.
The commencement speaker gave some valuable words of wisdom to the class of 2015, but his last encouragement stood out to me more than the others because of its pure honesty. It shows how we can be our own greatest asset or worst enemy because our outlooks and perspectives are crucial when it comes to achieving dreams and overcoming obstacles.
“There is no adversary possible that can stop you once you have made the choice to persevere.”