Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"This too shall pass"

Hey Tom,

You ought to obtain a copy of Alex's student address at the SJU graduation on Saturday and then forward to your loyal e-mail friends. It was quite good and was delivered very well by Alex.



I aim to please ;-) Here's the speech from our girl... a smart young lady, a pretty young lady, and not a bad basketball player (according to her). We are all proud of her, and all her friends who are leaving Hawk Hill ;-( Will have the video for you once Shannon gets back from Georgia.


St. Joseph's University - Commencement Speech 2009
by Alexandra Bretschneider, SJU '09
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, the time has come at last. It seems like only weeks ago that we sat on this very same field for orientation. And yet here we sit again, clad in our caps and gowns, surrounded by smiles and tears. Some of us crying because we’re saying goodbye to the best time of our lives, and some of the parents crying because their kids are coming back home.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I love to tell stories. And so, that’s where I will begin. When I first came to St. Joseph’s University, it was not what I had expected. I was not sure that I fit in with the people, and I began to second guess my decision to come here. And as the cost of tuition increased, so did my chances of transferring. My dad, a Hawk alumn himself, started to come here every other week to take me out and cheer me up over dinner. At the end of the meal, in another crowded restaurant, he would look at me and say the same thing. It was something so simple, that I didn’t take it seriously at first. He said, “Are you picking up the check?”

Then we would laugh, and he would give me the best piece of advice I have ever received. He would say, “Go to the Fieldhouse.” The Fieldhouse? I didn’t understand at first what he was actually telling me. What did this archaic gym, the soon to be refurbished Hagan Arena, have that could help me? I finally took his advice seriously and went there to play basketball, and I had an epiphany. I realized that what my dad had actually been telling me all along was to seek out activities that incorporated my passions, which would lead me to find others who shared in my interests as well. It soon became an everyday expedition for me, going to the Fieldhouse and playing ball with people I met there. It was through my participation in sports and clubs that I was able to find my niche at St. Joseph’s, and its what allowed me to fall in love with the University and its people.

Now, in the subsequent 4 years here, a multitude of historical events occurred both at St. Joe’s, and in the so-called “real world.” Hm… the real world. Something has always bothered me about people referring to life after college as this “real world,” as if college is some sort of isolated utopia. Though college may not be as rigorous as the real world, there is a lot of reality that we have experienced as well. In the words of the great Charles Dickens, in these past 4 years, it has been the best of times, and the worst of times. I would like to now recap on a few events to put this into perspective.

In the “real world”:
- the United States engaged in an ongoing war in the Middle East
- Bob Barker retired from the Price is Right
- In the real world, the subprime mortgage crisis and banking industry exploded
- Michael Phelps took home 8 gold medals from China
- And, EVERYONE learned how to do the Soulja boy dance
- In the real world, a man landed a crashing plane in the Hudson River
- The first African American President was elected
- The Phillies won the World Series
- And, there was a serious epidemic of Facebook addiction

Now, for those of you who were stuck in the “real world” and were not in here in college, these are some things that we endured:

- St. Joseph’s acquired the Maguire Campus
- Sourin dorms continued to be without air conditioning
- We completed four years with having a total of only 2 snow days
- Finnessey field administered serious turf burn
- We mastered the art of procrastination
- We had friends and family members pass away
- We had teachers that made a lasting impact
- We got lost finding our first class in Barbelin
- We heard the word “preeminent” and the phrase “men and women for others” over a thousand times
- We went to Hand in Hand or helped the community in some way
- And lastly, we had roommate disputes, and lost and found friends with whom we made everlasting memories
These among many other events are the reality that was our time here on Hawk Hill. Whether you are in the group of kids that hung out in the old Hawk Rock, the jock on the field, the club president, or just the kid who is half awake in class, you were not immune to the “real world” tragedies and triumphs, nor were dealings of your daily life any less significant.
We are entering a new stage in our lives at a time of great economic turmoil and uncertainty. Looking to your left and right are the concerned faces of those without jobs, and of those with jobs who are unsure of how long they will get to keep them.

But, do not be discouraged. This too, shall pass.

Trust that in your time here at SJU, you have been equipped with the skills and talents to face all of life’s curve balls that will inevitably get thrown your way.

And so, to send you off on this day of our graduation, I wish upon all of you the blessings of hope in these hard times. Hope and faith that you will find your niche in this infamous new campus called the “real world”, and that you will surround yourself with the right tools and people such that you will have a positive impact on yourself, your family and your community.
I urge each of you to do one simple thing: go out and find your own Fieldhouse in life, in the real world.
Congratulations and good luck, Class of 2009.

The Hawk Will Never Die.

Alex with Hawk Hoop buddies Shannon and Chelsea.

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