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Emily Luth

Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering

Good afternoon faculty, staff, family, friends and fellow graduates. I would like to begin by thanking President Benson, Provost ­­­Musselman, and Dean Spong for everything they have done for the University. To everyone here sitting in front of me, congratulations.

 After today we are entering a whole new world and a new phase of our lives, for which Michael Dell can give us some great advice. The chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies once said: “As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.” Now, before everyone races out of their seats to enter the "real world’ and to hopefully live a life that excites you, let’s review the maps you drew here at UT Dallas.

My map, like many others of you here today, began by getting accepted to UT Dallas and then stepping into Freshman Orientation with some apprehension about the years that lay ahead. I know that seeing Temoc for the first time may not have helped. A handful of my friends are still terrified of him, but I happen to love our fiery-headed mascot.

"Today is the day we say goodbye to our old maps and start new ones. Now there may be no Welcome Weeks or free goodies all the time, but you will, hopefully, begin a journey that leads to the rest of your life."

The next point on your maps may be Welcome Week, with all the events, free food and T-shirts because we all know college students love free things. I also hope that everyone has Oozeball marked on their maps. For those of you who may not know, Oozeball is a mud volleyball tournament where we get to roll around in the mud as if we were 6 years old again. That’s why we came to college in the first place, right? I’m sure there are other spots on your maps such as the times you laughed so hard you cried, the spring break adventures or even times you just sat there studying for hours with friends.

And I know no one will forget what walking into their first class was like — being nervous yet simultaneously excited about what was to come. Not knowing whether we would make a lot of friends or even if we would stick with the first major we chose. Of course no one had time to think about any of that after our first midterm season rolled around. Whatever uncertainties we had, each and every one of us got through this time.

As engineering students, I also know working on our senior design projects taught us a thing or two, and when UTDesign Expo was complete, everyone felt an overwhelming feeling of elation. Looking back at it makes it all seem so trivial, but it is important to keep in mind that whatever we learned through those experiences is what is going to get us through the future — whether it be for a job, graduate school or life in general.

This takes us to the final stop of your UTD maps — graduation day! When we started, we thought this day would never come. And now that it’s here ... well, I’m still having a hard time believing it. But today is the day we say goodbye to our old maps and start new ones. Now there may be no Welcome Weeks or free goodies all the time, but you will, hopefully, begin a journey that leads to the rest of your life.

Some of us will focus on traveling for a living, while some will focus on finding the perfect job. Even though your map may look different from the map of the person sitting next to you, it is your own individual experiences that will shape who you are and the mark you will make on this world. Don’t assume that anything you did was insignificant, no matter how small it may seem. It was the former CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, who said: “Not only can you not plan the impact you’re going to have, you often won’t recognize it when you’re having it.”

So what will you remember most about your time here at UTD? Will it be all the inside jokes you had with your friends or the clubs you joined? All the late nights at the library studying for exams? Or all those times you called your mom because you couldn’t find something at Target? Whatever it may be and wherever we are in the future, there is something we have in common that I want everyone to remember: A few years ago, we all took a leap of faith and shot for the moon. And instead of landing among the stars, we became Comets. Thank you and congratulations!

Emily Luth graduated with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. She plans to pursue a career in the medical device industry.