May 11, 2014 at 5:36 PM
The professional accomplishments of Bowling Green State Firelands College graduates will start to accumulate over the next several decades.
But the class of 2014 got to check off at least one accomplishment from their bucket list Saturday.
See more photos of the commencement HERE
The graduating class held its commencement on the Firelands campus, as 522 various bachelors and associates degrees were handed out.
“You have embraced the BGSU learning experience,” President Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., said. “We hope that it frames your thinking for years to come”
What happens during these future years, and who makes up this newest class of graduates remains to be seen. Perhaps a breakthrough in the fields of engineering, technology or public policy will come from this class.
This was one of Sandusky city commissioner Dennis Murray’s points when he spoke Saturday.
“The vexing question for many of you is ‘where next?…. ‘What will I do?’” Murray said.
Murray said much of their journey through life may be influenced by serendipity, or pleasant surprises.
“It turns out that hard work, preparation and luck are not enough to achieve the fullest measure of success,” he said. “Life is going to take twists and turns that you never can anticipate”
Murray tried to relate by telling his own story. He said how he first ran for city commission in spite of co-workers laughing at him.
He had no idea at the time he would someday serve in the state legislature.
“Do not be the person who was too timid to take the next risk, to change jobs, to listen to your heart, get married and have children” Murray said.
Murray’s encouraging words were perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the eloquent speech given by 2014 graduate Talon Smith. Smith was bullied throughout his childhood, he told the audience.
Like many kids who were bullied during their youths, early experiences shaped Smith.
He said his childhood haunts him at times, but it also drove him to study the subject of bullying at BGSU Firelands.
“The (psychological implications) of being bullied are much the same as the posttraumatic stress experienced by soldiers andpolice officers,” Smith said in his speech. “However, soldiers and police officers are most often adults, whereas the victims of bullying are young children and teenaged”
This is why Smith received his bachelor’s in criminal justice while doing his part to help the nationwide bullying outbreak.
He has worked closely with Firelands staff to perform qualitative studies on kids who have been bullied.
Smith did not want to investigate the prevalence of bullying, mainly because its prevalence is well-documtened. He preferred to study its long-term effects on victims.
“Far too many kids end up (committing suicide) or (killing others),” he said. “That’s one reason why I wanted to speak. I want others to know that there are other paths”
Graduates came in all shapes, sizes and ages. Twelve percent of grads were students of color and 68 percent were women.
Associate degree recipients fell between 18 and 67 years old. Bachelor degree recipients were between 22 and 58 years old.