SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

17 Tips From the Class of 2017

By Southern Utah University on April 25, 2017 in

Students, Graduation

SUU's class of 2017 graduates share some advice

As you prepare for that walk across the stage, “seasoned veterans” will pepper you with advice for life after graduation. You’ll hear a few things likes, "The world is your oyster!" "Seize the day!" "These are the best years of your life!" These tips are about as helpful as they’re wanted. So we gathered 17 soon-to-be SUU graduates from the Class of 2017 and asked them what they really wanted to hear on graduation day and what advice they would give to their peers. Below, some of their advice.

Kenten Pope, communication majorKENTEN POPE, communication

“Tomorrow the world awaits! And we must remember that adventure is out there. It is up to us to take our experiences, knowledge and connections found at SUU and combine it with the spirit of our founders to build a legacy of our own.”

AUDREY HEINTZ, special education

“It can be hard not to compare our lives to others, but it is important to remember that we are just enough the way we are made. All of our gifts and talents makes each of us unique. Because of this uniqueness, we can never be properly compared to anyone.”

Heather Garcia, theatre education majorHEATHER GARCIA, theatre education

“You would not be here today if you didn’t challenge, push and inspire yourself to greatness. For me, one of the many lesson I have learned while attending SUU is never settle for anything but excellence. I can do incredible things, YOU can do incredible things, look at you now. Re-programming your fixed mindset and telling yourself you can do anything. Reaching for the unknown often times will surprise you in the finest way.”  

KC HULSE, master of business administration

“We are all talented in our own unique ways, let’s make sure our talent does not rob us of our success. ...talent can only go so far, true masters of their profession dedicate decades of hard work, coupled with the determination to overcome burdens as they surface.”

Cami Mathews, marketing majorCAMI MATHEWS, marketing

"Change can be difficult, believe me. But it is now, in this vulnerable moment, that we have the most potential. Take your work and put it to the test. Challenge yourself to move forward and surpass the limits that you have set. You have earned this moment; now take it and run."

CHRISTINA VAN DAM, master in education

“Remember that we, the Class of 2017 are a class of innovation, creativity, collaboration, and dedication. We will make this world a better place by pushing against the boundaries of what has always been and creating change.”

Jane Wittwer, family life and human development majorJANE WITTWER, family life & human development

“I hope that we will attack our futures with this same passion and this same sacrifice. I hope that we are willing to give of ourselves to make a difference, to change our communities, to help others, to become the best at what we do. Because in so doing, THAT is when we change the world. That is when people will remember us, and that is when people ask and say, ‘Where do people like that come from? Where did they learn that?’ We’ll proudly answer, ‘Southern Utah University.’”

MELISSA PALMER, construction management

“I hope that as we go through the next 10 years of our lives that our fear of failure will diminish. Failure is just as a valuable as success. This can be a life changing attitude but also it isn’t easy. Failure accompanies every single success I have had. So I hope that what you take from this is that if you have to have confidence to expect success but not be afraid because failure is a possibility. You’ll become unstoppable.”

 Brandon Mahoney, communication majorBRANDON MAHONEY, communication

‘We persevered when others gave up. We ran when others walked, and we got back up when others stayed down. However, we are not done yet. The next walls are bigger, the next mountains are steeper, and the next lessons more complex. As the obstacles to accomplish our end  goals grow more challenging, there will be fewer that will have the grit to overcome them and come closer to what they so desperately want.”

ZACH GUTHRIE, master of public administration

“All of our experiences amass to this one moment where we will get to walk across the stage and prove to those who doubted us that we have become something. Think on this day, not with sadness due to a close door, rather think about where you are going from here. Use what you have gained here to push you further into the possibilities because you’ve made it this far.”

Katie Christensen, master of fine artsKATIE CHRISTENSEN, master of fine arts in arts administration

“While here at SUU I had a professor that looked at my work everytime before I would hand it in and say, ‘Katie, this is technically perfect. But I am giving you an F, what more can you give me?’ Each assignment was the same. I cannot begin to describe the gratitude I have for this advice and encouragement. Now every task I am given I ask myself, ‘what more can I give?’”

JUSTIN JENKINS, master of business administration

“I am guessing none of us understand our full potential. More than that, none of us, I would guess, understands how to realize our potential. We can never truly understand or reach our full potential until we stretch ourselves. Now is the times to change; tomorrow will come come, today is here.”

Samantha Burfiend, communication majorSAMANTHA BURFEIND, communication

“At SUU, we tend to find ourselves experiencing life face-on. We jump into projects, clubs and friendships almost fearlessly. Now, as you go on to the future you should hold on to that fear-free mentality. No matter how terrible you are at anything in life, it is just the first step to becoming great at it. So take on those hard jobs, move to that new location, and experience more; just like we did at SUU.”

BRAXTON DUNCAN, human nutrition

“A college degree is an experience. It is an education. It helps you find out who you are and who you want to be. But most of all, it is an opportunity to help other people. The process of earning a college degree transforms you into a person capable of lifting others because the work you put in, the character you built, and the education you obtained, you’ve climbed to higher ground.”

Sarah Ludlow, human nutrition majorSARA LUDLOW, human nutrition

“With knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. Ignorance can in be fact blissful, but such a path is no longer an option for us, or at least shouldn’t allow it to be. While such a notion is a bit scary, it is also exhilarating. We have the chance to create, to enhance, and to better our world, and we must jump at such a chance. We cannot roll over and let life happen to us, but we must insert ourselves into life and make it work for us.”

MATT LAWS,  communication

“Find out what makes you live, what makes you unforgettable to the people around you. What make you happy, what makes you cry, what makes you work hard, and what makes you shed tears of joy. Fan the opportunity of the flames of life! Keep adding accelerants  to what you do best.”

Mariah Tucker, communication majorMARIAH TUCKER, communication

“The moments that you have had over the times it took you to earn your degree has given you the experience that you need to start working. This moment will change your life forever, and this will be a moment you remember for the rest of your life. Congratulations for making it to this moment. This is your time and you earned the right to enjoy it.”