Friends, family, my fellow graduates, and the faculty and staff of this incredible department – can you believe this day has finally come? I feel like just yesterday we were all so excited to be the class of 2012 - listening to Chris Brown’s “2012” on repeat waiting for the world to end after our first semester - and here we are, four triumphant years later, as the class of 2016. What an awesome, wonderful, crazy, sometimes tumultuous, blink of an eye fast ride it has been.
I really thought long and hard about what to say to you all today. I don’t feel like I’m particularly in a place to be giving words of wisdom or any kind of grand insight, as I struggled through the chemistry requirements and that first big final B200 presentation just like every other HUBI major. But truly, it’s so amazing to me how diverse this department is in regards to students’ professional goals and post-graduation plans: from those pursuing continuing education in the medical field to future educators, engineers, business men and women, researchers, and beyond, it’s incredible to think that this liberal arts education has successfully prepared us all for such varied paths. When I look back on my time in the Human Biology department and think of again of all the spectacular students I have gotten to meet along the way, I have found that despite our varied interests and plans, we do have a single commonality: the incredible opportunity we have had to be here. Think of all the things you have accomplished as an individual these past four years: whether your greatest accomplishment has been passing that impossible class, achieving some kind of personal goal, or finally doing an open-to-close at Roy’s, we have put our all into this one-of-a-kind education we are lucky enough to have received.
When I have gone on trips with the Office of Scholarships to recruit potential new students, I’m often asked to explain what exactly the Human Biology major is and how it can help prepare students for a career in the 21st century. Actually that’s a question I really do get a lot, “how will this major best prepare me for the job market?” “how will this help me get a sustainable career?”. I then proceed to describe how Human Biology is a liberal arts approach to science – in addition to the hard science requirements, we have the opportunity to take classes in topics like anthropology, sociology, and psychology. But more importantly, we get to take a look at the real human experience in the multitudes of different variables that collaborate to create an understanding of what it means to be a human in the 21st century. So absolutely yes, this major prepares us for the “real world” and all that incorporates – what a marvelous opportunity.
As I’m sure you all are very much aware of, these last weeks of classes and finals have been an absolute whirlwind. I’ve tried to take some time to sit back and really think about the past four years and somehow come to terms with the fact that it’s over already, and in that time I’ve found another commonality that I believe I can generalize for us all once again: gratitude. Thanks to this department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and IU, we have gained a holistic, world-class education, made friends that we’ll keep for a lifetime, and made some amazing memories both remembered and forgotten. And what an absolutely incredible opportunity that has been.
In the grand scheme of things, four years isn’t a long stretch of time. But these four truly have been one hell of a ride. Here’s to hoping the rest of our lives continue to only get better.
Best of luck, class of 2016!