A Glimpse of Graduation

Samantha Sang

Bachelor of Science, Child Learning and Development

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished faculty and, most importantly, my fellow graduates, I am honored to be standing before you today. I welcome you all and hope that you feel as proud as I do to be part of The University of Texas at Dallas.

Profile Photo of Samantha Sang

I asked myself what I would wish to hear if I were sitting in the seats that I look out upon, and what important lessons I have learned in my years at The University of Texas at Dallas.

I have searched my mind and heart for weeks about what I should say to you today, a day of great accomplishment. Today is the day we have been longing for since freshman year; today is the day our parents have been anticipating for 20 or more years. Today concludes a grueling journey of sweat, tears and sleepless nights. Today signifies an end and a beginning; however when one door shuts, another one opens. So, what lies ahead for all of us?

For many, this is the end of your scholastic journey. In this case, tomorrow you hit the job market classified as a college graduate, which distinguishes you from all others who may not have had the determination or commitment that you expressed in the past four years. Others will enter graduate school to further their formal education – which means more examinations, group projects and long essays – but you have proved your ability to succeed in the academic arena and you were hand-selected among hundreds of applicants based on your outstanding academic record. Whichever path we have chosen, today marks a turning point for all of us that we can’t ignore: We're headed into the infamous real world.

“There are numerous ways to approach change: Confront it, accept it, or deny it. ‘Life is change, but growth is optional,’ William Somerset Maugham said. The choice is yours and yours alone, so choose wisely. Choose the lessons you have learned and the tools you have gained at UT Dallas to be the foundation to be a better friend, employee and person. In addition, use the strong education and support network we’ve received to adapt to any and every change that occurs.”

As young adults who have been supported by family and friends during our time in college, we wake up tomorrow expected to be self-sufficient adults. To those who know us best, that must be a daunting thought. Be that as it may, we are all on the threshold of the real world. In the real world, we are free to go our own way, and it will be an absolutely different experience for each of us. So with the door open to the real world, we step across the threshold and onto an uncertain path full of successes and failures from which we will learn.

There are numerous ways to approach change: Confront it, accept it, or deny it. “Life is change, but growth is optional,” William Somerset Maugham said. The choice is yours and yours alone, so choose wisely. Choose the lessons you have learned and the tools you have gained at UT Dallas to be the foundation to be a better friend, employee and person. In addition, use the strong education and support network we’ve received to adapt to any and every change that occurs.

Therefore, do not hesitate to step over the threshold, but enter the real world with confidence and faith that your family, friends and professors have prepared you for all that lies ahead. Said best by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Deep down inside we share one exceptional characteristic; we’re Comets!

So, what makes a Comet so unique? The sense of acceptance for all others no matter how different they may be. UT Dallas is a place where a juggler, a zombie, and a unicyclist can all join as one. A place where all sports are created equal, whether it be chess, rugby or soccer. A place where in order to fit in you must stand out. UT Dallas provides students the ability to discover themselves, so when we leave we are not insecure freshman, but self-assured graduates.

In celebration of the endeavors and success of my fellow graduates; my fellow Comets, I would like to say, “Well done and good luck tomorrow as well as every day after.” Thank you.


A native of Gilbert, Ariz., Samantha Sang graduated with a Bachelor of Science in child development and psychology, with a minor in criminology. She has been involved in the Delta Epsilon Iota academic honor society and Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology. She played two seasons for the intercollegiate women's soccer team and received the Student-Athlete Excellence Award for her academic achievements. In addition, she participated in Dr. Jackie Nelson’s Family Research Lab, studying parent-child conflict. Over the past semester, she was selected to intern at the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County as a child-abuse caseworker. After graduation, she plans to continue at UT Dallas in the Psychological Sciences graduate program and pursue a PhD in developmental psychology.