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Remarks by Molly Bode '09 at Convocation, Sept. 23, 2008

Posted 09/23/08

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Molly Bode '09

First, I would like to say thank you so much to Dean Crady. That was a very thoughtful introduction. Before I address the 12's, I would like to first take this opportunity to recognize and thank Jim and Susan Wright for everything that they have done for our home here at Dartmouth and beyond for almost 40 years. As you retire at the end of this academic year, know that you both serve as incredible examples to Dartmouth's future leaders.

Speaking of leaders: Hey '12s! Word on the street is that you are the best, the brightest, and the most diverse class ever. Honestly, they told me that too. These admissions statistics only mean that you have a lot of potential and a lot to prove. Look around at the people sitting next to you: they come from many different backgrounds and many different stories. You may not immediately have much in common, but you do have one similarity - you are all members of the Class of 2012. From this moment on your lives will be linked.

You've already been asked to climb Mount Moosilauke, and to ford the Connecticut, to dance the Salty Dog, and to sing the Alma Mater, and to throw out answers in favor of questions. However, the first thing I ask of you is to remember that Dartmouth is more than just a College on the Hill. It's your college, your community, and your life.

You will feel uncomfortable here at times, and you will be challenged by new ideas and preconceived notions. But those challenges will help you grow and evolve. Remember that at Dartmouth you can find comfort in knowing that there are people around you who have faced similar struggles and that there are people to help you: fellow students, administrators, and the faculty.

As you have already guessed, the community you have just joined is one where you will learn, work, and play with the people who have the opportunity and responsibility to impact the world in a positive way; individuals who understand the importance of following a passion.

During the past three years in Hanover, I've been involved in countless activities on the way to discover my own passion. However, over the years I have to come to realize the importance of scheduling priorities, not prioritizing schedules. By this I mean it is incredibly important to leave room for the unexpected, and to leave room to get to know other people.

I will never forget the time that I spent sleeping out on Balch Hill...or the late night that I spent rolling around laughing in the hallway of the Choates, or the time that I've spent on the front porch of a house just sitting and talking and getting to know people. These are the times that cannot come often enough and they will resonate with me long after my Dartmouth experience. These unplanned moments are an important component of our education and of our Dartmouth experience.

"When you dive right into something that you are passionate about, then you truly come alive. It is this energy in life that can be passed on to others and that can make a difference in the world."

- Molly Bode '09

It is because of these bonds that I will leave Dartmouth next June enriched with great memories shared with truly incredible people. People who care for one another. People who live lives of service and are inspiring. People who challenged me to be a better person. People who cannot be summed up by admissions statistics. People who are passionate and people who show compassion. People who are Dartmouth. People just like you.

As you continue to learn about those around you, you will uncover your passions and discover your own. As Harold Whitman once said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go out and do that. Because what the world needs is people who come alive." When you dive right into something that you are passionate about, then you truly come alive. It is this energy in life that can be passed on to others, and that can make a difference in the world.

The people at this school are my passion. They make me come alive everyday. It is because of the people at Dartmouth that I wanted to give back and that I have had the privilege of doing so through Student Assembly.

At Dartmouth, you will find your own reason to come alive every day. You may continue to follow a life-long aspiration or find a new one through a class, an organization, activity, or even those late night talks. For some, Dartmouth may have been your goal, but guess what?  You're here. You've completed that part of your journey. So now come alive for the four years that lie in front of you. Walk through those doors that you yourself will open, and allow yourself to embrace a life of vibrancy and to dive into your passions.

And '12s, remember, it's okay to face challenges or to even fail on your way to achieving your aspirations. I have failed too, many times, and thought about giving up on Dartmouth. But, you know, I kept on going and I absolutely love this place. So I am going to tell you to not feel defeated: we have all faced challenges and recognize that each of us is not perfect. Dartmouth is not perfect either. But these imperfections teach us to learn humility and compassion and remind ourselves to care for one another.

In the words of William Jewett Tucker, the ninth president of Dartmouth College, "Do not expect that you will make any lasting or a very strong impression on the world through intellectual power without the use of an equal amount of conscience and heart."

Put heart into your passions and into your relationships with the people around you and into this community. And in these years of self-discovery, be conscious of the way that you affect others, Dartmouth, and the world. Moreover, remember as the Class of 2012 you are now members of this community. Remember that [in] the next years you have the opportunity to make it your own and shape it into what you want.

Finally, remember that if you truly care for one another, and if you take the time to get to know one another, and if you support one another in your endeavors, then the statistics won't matter. You will be the best class ever. Welcome Dartmouth Class of 2012.

Return to Convocation 2008

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