Justin Jones, 2016 Class Speaker
I recently came across a photo of our first all-class meeting in Chapin — from way back in the fall of 2012. As I looked at the photo, I remembered that during that meeting, I was on a serious emotional rollercoaster. I felt proud and excited to be there with all of you, but I was also really nervous: about starting classes, about developing a social life, about doing my own laundry. Perhaps you all felt more confident about that last part than I did, but I imagine a lot of us felt uncertain in our own way.
And I imagine a lot of us feel a similar sort of uncertainty today as well. College life has become second nature for us, but adulthood is going to take some getting used to. Even the most mundane and practical things will be a big adjustment. We’ll have to sign leases. Take trips to the grocery store that aren’t just fun excursions. Continue doing our own laundry. A lot will be new, and you may be asking yourself — as I am — how we’ll navigate it all. And of course, there are larger questions about the trajectories of our lives that remain unanswered. Williams has given us a lot, but it didn’t give us a road map for the future. Or, since it’s 2016, a GPS for the future. As a result, we don’t know exactly how our first few years of adulthood will unfold, what kinds of choices we’ll have to make, or where these choices will lead us.
So as we take this next step in our lives, we’ll have to embrace the uncertainty and proceed even if we don’t feel totally ready. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have reason to trust ourselves and our potential. Between our first class meeting and today, we’ve learned how to think critically about the world around us, developed a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, and cultivated a staggering array of unique talents and abilities. And all of this has helped us enrich and strengthen this community in ways we couldn’t have imagined four years ago. So despite the uncertainty, we can safely trust that there’s no limit to what the 527 of us can accomplish, no limit to how much positive change we can effect, and no limit to the number of lives we can impact for the better. Life may make us lose this trust at times, but let’s promise each other today that if that happens we’ll always try and find it again. Thank you.