The following is the text of the full University of Wisconsin Oshkosh 142 spring Commencement address delivered at the May 14 afternoon ceremony by Marc Busko, student speaker and economics major.
“Good afternoon everyone. I would like to start by expressing my most sincere thanks for this opportunity to be a part of the class of 2016. It is an absolute honor to call you all peers.
“I would like to thank our distinguished guests who are here with us today, as well as our faculty members, especially my faculty adviser Marianne Johnson who has helped me understand economics better than I ever wanted to know.
“To the family members who are with us today, the commencement staff and the UW Oshkosh Administration, thank you for being here.
“I think many of us can agree that our college experiences have been a lot like a road map, or what may be more fitting for us Millennials, Google Maps, you know our trusted and beloved guide to the universe.
“We all have put our trust in our devices to take us from one point and get us to another destination in the most efficient way possible. We need to know our estimated time of arrival. If there’s traffic or a detour ahead we want to know.
“Nevertheless, I think we can remember a time when we didn’t take the right turn. Sometimes we took the long way. Sometimes we were stuck in traffic for much longer than we anticipated. Sometimes we turned up High Avenue and went the wrong way on a one way. Come on, you know you’ve done it. I certainly have!
“As freshman, our maps were just starting to take shape. We knew some street names, knew our way to and from Sage Hall, and found our way from our dorm room to the Rec Center. Or maybe you found yourself going from the Rec Center to Polito’s Pizza, like I did sometimes.
“We started to develop and cultivate new relationships and started taking our general education requirements. Maybe you met a passionate professor that helped unfold and guide your freshman year. As freshman year came to a close our maps had started forming.
“Sophomore year seemed to go so fast. Between the accounting courses, the nursing classes, teaching courses and endless number of group projects, our maps continued to become more clear to us. We might have picked a major, or switched a major. Sometimes more than once. We joined some organizations, and got involved. Our interests and passions continued to change and evolve. We started to embrace and recognize who we were becoming.
“As juniors, we were ready to be accepted into our programs of study. We couldn’t wait for the email that notified us that we had been accepted into the College of Nursing, the College of Business or the College of Education and Human Services. We started to search for industries and jobs that piqued our interests and aligned with our strengths, gifts, skills, and talents.
“We began to recognize the internships that we were capable of seeking out. We connected with professionals in our majors and industries. As juniors, the destination and map we all had been creating and working on started to really come into focus. We could see it. We could sense it. We could feel it.
“Now, as graduating seniors our maps are far from complete, and we haven’t reached our destinations just yet. We’ve spent this past year interviewing and job searching. Some of us student taught, others interned, our nurses finished clinicals and are preparing for the NCLEX exam. And our graduate students finished up some of their toughest assignments.
“We’ve checked our STAR account every day to make sure all our requirements had now turned a magical green. And now we’re here. The moment we’ve all been working so hard towards. The years of sleepless, stressful nights at the library. The years of incredible friendships that supported us and helped us get to this moment. The years of seeing the same squirrels get bigger and bigger.
“We all have been pursuing things in our lives that we’re passionate about. We’ve been building and creating this map. We’ve been practicing, learning and studying. We’ve been honing the things we’ve learned in each of our areas of study. However, this is just a temporary destination. This is just a momentary celebration of something greater that is to come.
“Now it’s time to start pursuing those passions in our lives. It’s time to continue to build, create and form our maps. To take wrong turns, and right turns and when we come to a fork in the road, take whatever way feels best.
“To pursue a job and vocation that you’re so passionate about. To find a mentor who will help you. To be a mentor to someone. To set goals. To find love. To start a movement. To contribute to a cause or an organization. To raise a family. To start your own company. To travel. To pursue the countless passions in our lives. Take a second and imagine, how would achieving one or a few of these passions make us feel?
“As we select our new destinations, I challenge each and every undergraduate and graduate student to pursue that passion. To go after it. To give it everything you have.
“If there’s one thing I would like for us to take away from today, it’s this: We owe it to our future selves to pursue our passions and create our maps. Yes, we are departing from our college destination, and now UWO becomes a place reference for each of us. Google Maps are great, but when we create our own maps in life, we can go much, much further.
“We can change the world in our own unique ways with the things that we are passionate about. We really can. We are ready and able to do huge things after we leave this ceremony today.
“Choose your passions. Pursue your passions. Create your map.
“Class of 2016, congratulations! Thank you very much.”