May 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

A&S Senior Thanks Supportive Bobcat Community

Wesley Lowery delivered the keynote address at undergraduate commencement. Photo by Ben Siegel

Wesley Lowery delivered the keynote address at undergraduate commencement. Photo by Ben Siegel

From Compass

“I never truly grasped what people meant when they said, ‘Your undergraduate years are more than a degree,’” College of Arts & Sciences student Nicole Morino told her Class of 2017 classmates at Undergraduate Commencement on April 29.

“I thought, ‘yeah, you make friends, have a memory here and there.’ But now I understand. I learned who I am here at OU. When I didn’t even know it, I was constantly learning about myself – what it truly meant to be a friend, what it truly meant to be a part of a community,” said Morino, who double majored in global studies war and peace and Political Science, as she shared the lessons she learned in the classroom and in life during her OHIO journey. That journey began as a sophomore when she made the “greatest decision I ever made” and transferred to Ohio University.

Being a part of a community took on new meaning for Morino her junior year when, she shared, she began to have difficulty balancing her workload and her mental health and was struggling with anxiety and depression and eventually turned to friends for help.

“As much as I wanted to give up at times, I had that support group – a wide community of Bobcats that would not let me – and I am forever thankful,” Morino said, noting the role her friends and the staff at OHIO’s Counseling and Psychological Services played in supporting her. “I really wanted to speak today for those sitting here that made it through college, especially those that faced a mental or physical challenge along the way. I hope you have learned even more about yourself from overcoming these challenges, and for those still struggling, to find support and know you are not alone because you are an Ohio University Bobcat.”

Morino noted one last lesson she learned at OHIO – to be confident.

“We are a class composed of incredible men and women,” she said. “Because of Ohio University, we all have been blessed with a newfound confidence in ourselves, even if we do not know what we are doing the moment we grab that diploma today.”

She closed by telling her fellow graduates, “Remember to take care of yourselves, know that you a Bobcat through and through, and, because of that, you are never alone.”

Graduating senior Sarah Boston and Morino were selected as this year’s student speakers, earning the opportunity to address their fellow graduates through a competition hosted by Ohio University’s Division of Student Affairs.

A&S Students Share Their Big  Day Memories

“Today is a big day,” said ZhouZhou Lu of Chang Sha, China, who graduated with a degree in Economics. “I loved everything about being a student at OHIO.” Having been home only twice in the past four years, Lu was excited to return to China to work in business.

“I am a first-generation student,” said Chloe Musick of McArthur, Ohio, who graduated with a degree in Political Science. “Today is symbolic of moving forward in my family. I am looking forward to upward mobility and making my family proud.” Musick said her favorite OHIO memory was marching in the Homecoming Parade with the Cutler Scholars. “We always had a huge presence in the parade, then we had a big party at Trisolini House every year, and it was fun to meet alumni.” Musick will be pursuing a master’s degree in public administration and will be working with OHIO’s Upward Bound program this summer.

“Today, I am enjoying the feeling of being done,” said Austin Rivers of Columbia, South Carolina, who graduated with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. “But today is not about me. Today is for my family. A lot of them came in from out of town, and they are so proud.” Rivers will be returning to OHIO for graduate school and studying art history.

Jingtong Li of Beijing, China, will be returning home to work in research after earning a degree in Biological Sciences. “I loved Alden Library,” Li said. “Now that I am finally done with school, I can go home. I have only been home a few times over the past four years.”

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