Baccalaureate Speech: Laura Romano '11
Laura Romano '11
Laura Romano '11
Dickinsonians, take a look around you. There’s a good chance that there is a person you’ve made a connection with during your four years at Dickinson sitting in the same row that you are sitting in. Whether this relationship blossomed from living in Drayer together as first-year students or from taking the same Comparative Civilization course or from simply seeing each other every time you make the trek from Denny to Kaufman, Dickinson has provided us with the infrastructure to create connections with our peers.
As much as I now herald the thriving community that Dickinsonians collectively create, I was once blind to how to fully optimize this experience. My first year at Dickinson was mediocre. While I was getting a great education, which inspired me to major in chemistry, one could argue that education outside of the classroom holds equal importance to what we learn within these limestone walls. When I wasn’t in class, I dedicated the majority of my time to field hockey. While my experience playing on the field hockey team taught me discipline, accountably, and teamwork, it left my desire to connect with the greater Dickinson community generally unfulfilled. My initial response to this void in my life was targeted at the school, and as a result, I considered transferring. But then I realized, perhaps the issue isn’t the institution, perhaps the issue lies with me?
To investigate my dilemma, I applied my scientific background to my social sphere. In the classroom, I had been learning about the various ways in which atoms and molecules interact. Although there are millions of variations in the configurations of different molecules, they all have one underlying similarity: The atoms must interact for bonds to be formed. Couldn’t the same be said for bonds created between humans? Would interaction among my peers stimulate the connections I was seeking to form at Dickinson?
In order to investigate my hypothesis, I began to engage my community. I joined Student Senate and became a tour guide. I volunteered weekly at the soup kitchen in Carlisle and signed up for the women’s golf team in the spring. By investing myself in different areas of campus, I was able to build the bridges I was looking for. I think the same can be said for most of us sitting in the audience. All of us have participated in at least one club while at Dickinson or have taken advantage of the different school events. By pouring our individual beakers full of our own experiences and personalities into the greater mixture that we call Dickinson, interactions can occur and bonds between one another can be made easily.
After we process down these stone steps tomorrow, we will all walk in different directions. Some of us will continue our commitment to academia, others will begin professional careers, and several may engage in volunteerism, or travel overseas. Regardless of where we end up, our studies, our experiences abroad, and our overall involvement at Dickinson have prepared us for what lies in our futures. But just as atoms are the building blocks of life, the most important contribution to our growth as Dickinsonians has been the bonds we have formed with one another. Whether we have grown from a connection we have made with a peer, a contact we have gained from an alumnus, or an inspiration we have obtained from a professor, the connections we have made with one another have built the foundation for how we will interact with the world.
Congratulations, class of 2011.