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A member of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business and the Honors College, Breana Vander Wielen, of Kimberly, graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree, majoring in accounting and human resources management.

Here are her prepared remarks from Saturday afternoon’s commencement ceremony: 

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It’s hard to believe that years ago we dreamed of college. We dreamed of what it would be like; the people we would meet, the things we would learn, and the experiences we would have. We dreamed of an experience culminating in today–graduation. The effects of our time at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the relationships we formed here will ripple throughout our lives. Now, to quote The Greatest Showman, “we are dreaming with our eyes wide open.”

Breana Vander Wielen

Along this journey we have shared together, there have been sleepless nights, late nights, and last-minute cram-session nights.

We sacrificed our sleep for the sake of pursuing our dreams.

Dreams are motivation and inspiration in the visual form. Everyone I have had the privilege of speaking with here has shared some of their dreams with me. When we dream, we see the world as it should be—and as it could be.

We dreamed of getting into college, and here we are. We dreamed of getting a specific degree or pursuing a specific field of study, and here we are. We dreamed of graduating college, ready to set sail into the world and make our dreams a reality—even the impossible dreams. And here we are.

A goal, after all, is a dream with a deadline. We have learned how to manage deadlines, and therefore dreams, skillfully and with great fervor. We felt the satisfying exhaustion from a hard day full of loud laughter and bold action.

Our time here has taught us how to question, research, observe and learn. Our time here has taught us to recognize everyone has something to teach us. Our time here has taught us the power of a well-educated mind, a humble heart and open hands to embrace the work in front of us.

Now that we have tools, we can use our education and network to improve the world around us. There are several things we do not accept; there are several things we dream of eradicating. In speaking with my classmates, I know many of them plan to confront the nightmares of: child hunger, human trafficking, homelessness, and illiteracy to name a few. We understand these will never end unless we take a stand.

The world is both a wonderful and terrible place, and I believe we can dream of a better tomorrow. I believe we can work together to make a better tomorrow for those caught in nightmares of another’s choosing. I believe we can use our education to connect with others and forge lasting partnerships and relationships built on mutual respect, an impressive work ethic, and a shared dream of making the world even more wonderful for those who come after us.

The world, in all its splendor, is right there! Let us explore it and leave it better than we found it. Let us dream the seemingly impossible dreams and make them real.

Let us dream with our eyes wide open.

We are Titans, and we are ready to inspire the next generation of students and dreamers.

More from UW Oshkosh’s spring commencement: