Convocation 2011

Caroline Dosky '12
August 29, 2011

Welcome friends, students, faculty and staff, members of the Geneva Community, and fellow members of the Board of Trustees. And a very special welcome to the Classes of 2015.

Seneca, a Roman philosopher, once said that "every new beginning comes with some other beginning's end." Convocation marks the beginning of the academic year, but that also means it marks the end of the summer and, for many of us, the end of Orientation. For me, this ending is bittersweet.

This first week on campus is our time to get back into classes, to reconnect with friends, and to officially turn the page on the academic year. It's a fresh start. At this important turning point, I encourage you to be mindful about who you are and what you hope to accomplish this semester, this year and over the next four years here at HWS. Challenge what you think you're capable of accomplishing. Set goals for yourself and reach out to HWS community members who are here to support you.

Last year at this time, I was experiencing a distinct beginning to the academic year – one that came with an immersion into a new and different culture. I don't think I fully realized what a huge risk I was taking until I got to Mendoza, Argentina. I was challenged, and I struggled, but ultimately, the experience changed how I see the world. While there, I was fortunate to teach a group of eighth grade students and gain a unique perspective on the Argentinean education system that has changed the way I think about being an educator.

As I look forward to this year, my personal goal is to work alongside the senior class so that we can create a legacy for the next generation of Hobart and William Smith students. The Classes of 2012 will continue to make their mark on this campus and our City of Geneva – both in the classroom and out. Use this convocation of the academic year to think about your life after HWS. How will Hobart and William Smith Colleges remember you?

Whatever your aim, be proactive in your plans. Don't wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Make it your mission to find your niche on campus, whether that's as a member of the Herald staff, on a sports team or working in the Admissions Office. Find the leader within yourself and do your part to leave your mark in this community. Be a good friend. Speak up in class. Take initiative.

Hobart and William Smith is a diverse, inclusive and welcoming place, and if you reach out, faculty, students and staff will help you achieve your goals. Create a web of people you trust and care about. The larger your network, the more success you'll have and the more you'll learn about yourself and others.

Our time at Hobart and William Smith is incredibly short, but it can be incredibly transformative. Ask yourself: who do I want to be? What do I believe in? How will I live a life of consequence? As you aim to create your own, distinct path at HWS, I wish you a successful and challenging academic year.