A Glimpse of Graduation

Jessica Adams

Bachelor of Arts, International Political Economy

Good afternoon. Welcome, distinguished faculty, guests, parents and graduating class.

When I started to write this speech, I thought this would be simple. I would say a few things about UT Dallas, our amazing professors and faculty, and share a story. But as I found out, it wasn’t that easy. I sat and pondered at my computer for quite some time before I realized there is an inspirational story to tell.

Profile Photo of Jessica Adams

But first let us thank our friends and families for coming to celebrate this momentous occasion with us. Also, let us recognize the professors and faculty who helped us along the way. Personally, I would like to thank my husband for his support through this long journey.

Many of you may not know me outside of a classroom or study group, but I have gone through many obstacles in life, just as I am sure you have. Starting college eight years ago, I moved out of my house three days after high school graduation and moved to Louisiana to attend LSU. I took on two jobs and a full load of courses.

After many struggles to keep my grades up while working, I ended up on academic probation. I had to step back and take a look at my life to see what I needed to do to accomplish my goal of being the first graduate in my family.

It was around this time that I met my husband, and a short time later we moved to Texas. I knew I wanted to return to school, so I started at a community college to get my grades back up. I went from academic probation to the dean's list: a huge accomplishment.

“Life is short, and opportunities are rare. We should not run from them, but run toward them. No matter what obstacles we face in life, we can overcome anything.”

It was in 2008 that I felt I was ready to attend a four-year university again, and what better place than UT Dallas? I found out about the international political economy program and didn't think twice: This was what I was going to do. Along the way, I found myself surrounded by amazing professors who not only taught the books, but who were also always willing to talk and help you when needed. That is why when I found out I was going to have twins, I turned to my family, friends and professors for advice and help when I started back at school. Without their help, I don't know that I would be standing before you today.

Now I share my excitement with my 2-year-old twin girls, my husband, our family and friends.

So what? I am sure that is what many of you are thinking. What does this have to do with me?

Whether it is getting a good grade, talking about basketball season at UT Dallas, things written on the Spirit Rock or new traditions that I have learned here, UT Dallas has helped me grow as a person and opened the door to many opportunities. As we leave here, remember to take the lessons learned and the experiences acquired with you. Together, we are diverse yet united, and when we come together, we can achieve anything.

Life is short, and opportunities are rare. We should not run from them, but run toward them. No matter what obstacles we face in life, we can overcome anything. Congratulations class of 2011.

Jessica Adams graduated with a BA in international political economy. During her time at UT Dallas, she was involved with transfer student programs. She is the mother of twin girls, Julie and Emilie, and is a first-generation college graduate.