SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

A Look at SUU's 2017 Student Commencement Speaker

By Samantha Burfiend on May 02, 2017 in

Traditions, Graduation

17880311_1587508191281156_6932173754865469935_o.jpgSara Ludlow started her first day of college listening to angsty punk music, overdoing her makeup and trying desperately to fit in. Just two and half years later, Ludlow is graduating from Southern Utah University a strong, confident individual who earned the opportunity to speak at commencement.

For most, public speaking is their biggest fear, but for Ludlow, being the student commencement speaker was a dream come true. Ludlow wanted to express to her fellow graduates, that graduation was not a reward, but the threshold into the real world.

“I used to believe that today was the reward for years of hard work and sleep deprivation; of high stress levels and the resulting acne,” Ludlow said. “Then reality hit. Graduation is not the reward. A 2-hour ceremony in an overcrowded building dressed in medieval garb is the crowning glory of our years of laborious work? No, today is merely a checkpoint of sorts; a time for us to breath a moment before we enter the next phase.”

Fifteen hours after graduation, this human nutrition major moved to Chicago to take classes at ImprovOlympic and The Second City in hopes of pursuing a career in writing/acting. Ludlow believes that people should spend this life doing what makes them happy.

As someone who will follow a dream that doesn’t align with her major, Ludlow explained to the graduates that education helps shape character. The skills and knowledge she gained through her time at SUU will be integral and applicable wherever she goes.

“Our education here at SUU extends far beyond learning how to calculate someone’s BMI or the difference between a prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. It comes from the values and the experiences that shaped our character and aspirations,” said Ludlow. “We gained an invaluable education during our time that extends far beyond the walls of the classroom, and I know that we would not feel as confident taking our next steps into the unknown without our college experience.”

Ludlow came to SUU as a presidential ambassador, and has spent her time at SUU working towards a degree in human nutrition. Ludlow was selected to be the student speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony after a lengthy and stressful process. A process which she said was extraordinarily rewarding, and has motivated her to take risks.

“I'm not talking bungee jumping or high stakes gambling or whatever, but setting goals and going for them, no matter how ludicrous they may seem,” said Ludlow.

Ludlow told the graduating class to think of life as an improvisation, sharing these tips: don’t just say yes, say yes, and; make statements; there are no mistakes, only opportunities; we are all supporting actors; trust; and listen.

As for her future, Ludlow’s dream is to write and act for the film industry, starting with Saturday Night Live.