Paulina Jesionek

Bachelor of Science, Global Business
Bachelor of Science, Marketing

Good morning, and welcome to the fall 2013 commencement ceremony at The University of Texas at Dallas. I would like to thank everyone for joining us here today. I would like to thank Dr. David Daniel, Provost Hobson Wildenthal, University dignitaries, the deans who have or will be sitting through countless graduations, the professors that provided us with the knowledge to make it here, and the families and friends that supported us every step of our journey.

I can honestly sit back and say that I accomplished everything I wanted to in my undergraduate career. Over my three and a half years here, I was involved in Greek life, and I was a college athlete, a scholarship recipient, a leader and above all, a student. I can proudly say that I am leaving with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, and without any regrets.

Profile Photo of Alan Howell

Never would I have imagined the opportunities that this University would provide. Although I knew that I could potentially achieve a lot at a different school, it was UT Dallas that led me to greatness and wide-open doors. We may not have a football team, but we have one of the best chess teams in the world. We may not have a common mascot, but we have the most unique and passionate one out there. We are Comets, and we bleed orange and green. We don’t have a Gothic-style campus, but instead we have human-size chess pieces and chessboards. We are just about to launch a renovation of the north campus mall, turning it into some kind of a futuristic forest. At UT Dallas, we are always looking to the future, and we are truly on the road to accomplishing big things. This is a university with so many quirks, opportunities, and most of all, character. This is a university that has a niche for everyone. This isn’t a school where you’re just another number, or another student. This isn’t a crowd that you get jumbled up in and lost in. This is home.

My time as an undergrad here has flown by, and I feel nostalgic already. Freshman year and the memories made literally feel as if they had just happened yesterday. I had the most fun during those years, and I met some of the warmest, most unique and genuine people. Over the years, i have been privileged to watch the campus and the University transform into what it is now. We survived the snowstorm in 2011, when we got an entire week off from school; the trek to the dining hall was cold and weary, and we lived off of ramen and instant mac’n’cheese for a week. We survived the lengthy hours waiting for class registration in the business school. Every day, we braved the parking lot, and that was our Hunger Games; it was the survival of the fittest, and every man was for himself as you tried to race a pedestrian back to his or her spot. The Management Honors Program became the Davidson Management Honors Program. The School of Management because the Naveen Jindal School of Management. One residence hall turned into four. Our generous donors and alumni helped beautify the south campus and turn it into a work of modern art. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to relive my college days or live in the past forever, but I will be able to take with me the things I learned and the skills I gained, and I will always be a Comet at heart.

“This is a university that has a niche for everyone. This isn’t a school where you’re just another number, or another student. This isn’t a crowd that you get jumbled up in and lost in. This is home.”

I credit UT Dallas and the amazing faculty here. They created Comets and stars out of dust. It was UT Dallas that gave me the opportunity to play for the Women’s Varsity NCAA golf team, and UT Dallas that named me Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year and gave me the Academic All-Conference title. UT Dallas gave me the opportunity to be a member of the Davidson Management Honors Program, with whom I traveled to D.C. and New York in the spring of 2012. It was at UT Dallas that I was also secretary for the Dean’s Council and the DMHP advisory council, and vice president of Phi Beta Lambda. It was through UT Dallas that I received a scholarship to study in Barcelona for the summer of 2012, where I “whooshed” on the beach with students and UT Dallas alumni whom we met abroad. It was through the honors program at UT Dallas that I earned a marketing internship at a boutique investment bank and a sales internship at Arthur J. Gallagher, which in turn led to my full-time offer there as an insurance broker. UT Dallas opened doors, windows and entire worlds full of opportunity, and I am so thankful that I took advantage of them all. I maintained a full scholarship and a GPA that I am proud of. I stayed up too late with life-long friends that I made here, procrastinated on papers, traveled the world, met fascinating people and learned many new things. My schedule was jam-packed with classes and extracurricular activities, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. None of these opportunities would have been possible at a different university. I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by professors and advisors that had a passion for teaching and helping their students, and who urged us to strive to be our best, at all times. The faculty here provided us with incredible resources and skills that will stay with me forever, and this is something that you cannot put a price on.

Looking back on my years here, I wouldn’t change anything except make the time go by more slowly. I want to thank the professors who left their doors open and genuinely cared about our success and our lives, the parents who loved and supported us through our errors and triumphs, and the friendships made that will truly last a lifetime. I would also like to congratulate everyone here today. You did it. I am filled with pride to be a part of such an incredible school and an amazing community. I am overwhelmed with the amount of success and potential that we have with us today. Do not let that valuable knowledge that you have gained here, the hard work that you have put in, or the opportunities that you have been given go to waste. Instead, carpe diem and carpe nocte. You will never get these years back, as only the memories of the days and the fruits of your successes will remain. I hope you all took advantage of the time and opportunities you were so graciously given here, and I hope they have all prepared you to open the next gates of opportunity. Our time at UT Dallas as students has come to a close, but another door opens, and we must put all of these skills to the test. So make your University proud, for it has been proud to have you, and go forth and seize the day, and achieve the greatness that UT Dallas has given us today.

Paulina Jesionek graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science in marketing and a bachelor of science in global business. She was a member of the NCAA women’s varsity golf team, vice president of Phi Beta Lambda and a member of the advisory council for the Davidson Management Honors Program. She has been a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota honor society and secretary of the Dean’s Council for the Naveen Jindal School of Management. She has been accepted into the Master of Science in Healthcare Management program at UT Dallas.