Convocation 2006
Convocation 2006

Student Response
Return to Program and Remarks

Khareem Monteith
President, ECOS
September 6, 2006

Welcome Back, My fellow Students, My friends

Once again time has found us. We hid from it for the past three months hoping that it would not knock on our doors to remind us "You have Calculus at 8:30 in the morning." I know that some of us scoff at the idea of being in a laboratory on a Friday afternoon while our counterparts are out on some beach taking on the challenge of achieving the perfect tan, like myself. However there are others who are glad to be back. Grateful that they have once again thrown off the shackles of parental bondage and are once again free! Free to party, free to make mistakes, free to learn.

But I ask myself what could be the real reason as to why some you have chosen to return to this place. It certainly is not because of the tuition. Could it be because we as students are given tremendous trust that empowers us with over four hundred thousand dollars to do with as we please within our Eckerd College Organization of Students? Could it be the luxury of having Yellow bikes as a mode of transportation? May it even be the international program that has allowed some of our fellow scholars to see the exotic peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, the rain forests of Costa Rica or even the beaches of Uruguay? Though these are all great reasons for students to attend any institution, this is not the why you are here. The reason for you being here is the same reason as to why I am here, we have a desire. We have a desire to be the best at what we do, the desire to push for greatness whether it may be in the field of International Business or on the court of the McArthur Gymnasium. This is a desire to succeed.

An Arnold H. Glasow quote states that "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time." It is a very profound statement. However it is one that I do not entirely agree with. How does one gage what is right? If you are a procrastinator like me then it is safe to assume that even if you know what is right and how to do it, you could never do it at the right time, you would die a pathetic failure. Who knows, I could be wrong. However I would like to believe that success is based on a rather more fundamental concept, one that is portrayed in a Song written by Ziggy Marley, "I got to be true to myself." It is the ability of one to work towards and reach their full potential of who they can be, not succumbing to hoaxes. It is why we as Eckerd scholars study, it is the why we serve the global community around us, it is why we practice our three point shots, it is also the why we perfect our penalty kicks.

Late one afternoon in high school I waited in the parking lot for my mother to pick me up. I trembled as I saw the beat up old silver car pull trough the school's gate. The thought of telling my mother that I failed another physics test had me in the grips of fear. My mother did not tolerate such slackness in her house and I knew it. She pulled up and the door swung open "Get in honey." Wait a second, my mother was in a good mood, and she would never ask me about that God forsaken physics test. However my elation was short lived when I saw a black leather belt next to her car seat, on my side. Let's just say that the thrashing I received on that faithful Friday afternoon, March 3rd 2000 has reminded me to this day, that if you fail to live up to your potential there shall be consequences. My mother did not punish me for failing that test, I was punished because time I should have invested into physics that week, I used to attempt mastering the fine game of Super Mario brothers, the Nintendo Version.

We are all aware that we have a long way to go on our heroes' journey; we know that each day that goes by we must fight to become who we are meant to be. With this knowledge I shall remind you as to why you are here, again, for another semester. It is because you want to be in the company of fellow scholars who have the mindset to succeed. This success is defined not by what they do to become famous, but by the fact they are all working to become great; to become our true selves.

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