Elin Marcsdottir’s Commencement Remarks

Elin Marcsdottir ’13 was one of four valedictorians for Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

The following is a transcript of Elin Marcsdottir’s valedictory remarks to graduates during the Arts & Sciences and College of Professional Studies 2013 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 12.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook) Hi everyone, and congratulations to all my fellow graduates. This is a very special day, one that most of us will probably remember for the rest of our lives, and I’m really happy to get to share it with all of you and our friends and families!

As we’re gathered here today, I’m sure I’m not the only one with mixed feelings. It’s a bittersweet moment—graduation—one that’s incredibly exciting yet at the same time completely nerve-racking. Life as we know it is about to end, and we’re going to have to go out in the world and create new lives for ourselves. That’s a pretty scary thought. What scares me the most about leaving Rollins—much more than not knowing exactly what I want to do with my hard-earned economics degree, or if my American work visa will even be approved—is the thought of being separated from all the amazing friends I have made here. I say this, because if there is one thing I have learned during my four years here it is the fact that while life gives and takes, with the support of my friends I can weather most of the storms that come my way.

Realizing how much the people I have around me in my life impact the quality of my life has helped me alleviate some of the stress I have experienced throughout this last year in college. You all know what it’s like: As soon as people find out you’re a senior in college, there is no doubt what questions will follow next. “What are your plans after graduation?,” “Have you found a job?,” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s not easy to figure out the answers to all these questions, and even if we think we do know, well, we can’t always control what happens to us in life. This past year, as I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and what goals I want to achieve, I have realized that what it all really comes down to is that I hope to be happy, and that my happiness depends a whole lot more on the people in my life than on anything else.

Hence, as we move forward from today, I’d like to recommend you not to get too caught up in everyday chores to be able to cherish the relationships that enrich our lives the most. If I could ask one thing of all of you here today, it would be to cultivate the friendships that you have made at Rollins throughout the rest of your lives. If you take just a moment to look around you, I’m sure that you can all find people in here who mean more to you than you can put into words; please don’t let those people disappear out of your lives. We might only get to spend four years here at this incredible place, but—if we let them—the things we experience and the people we share these experiences with can stay with us forever.