Heller MA-SID Commencement Speaker: Patricia Nunez Garcia, MA-SID'15

Patricia Nunez Garcia, 2015 MA-SID Commencement Speaker

Dear Classmates, Future Colleagues, Professors, Family and Friends,

I would like to ask you to picture the first flowers, the first ray of sunlight or the first moment that made you feel that spring had arrived this year.

This is what graduation feels like to me. The birth of a new future, and the warm embrace of newly acquired capability and knowledge—fresh freedom, with innate responsibility.

Our journey to graduation, to this day, went something like this…

While Heller was teaching us strategy, ethical development, and the three pillars of sustainability in lectures and cross-cultural experiences, in parallel New England was giving us lessons about the four seasons in the northern world—figuratively, and quite literally.

We arrived to a warm welcoming summer with excited smiling faces eager to learn and open to change. We were amazed by a colorful and kind autumn that found us a bit more serious, comfortable with where we were. But at the end of that season it felt as if all the colorful leaves had fallen upon us in the form of final papers. Then came a record-breaking winter, and some nights we needed to remind ourselves why we were drinking caffeinated hot drinks at 2:00 am. The winter wonderland that surrounded us was beautiful, but who knew that its white silence was also meant for us to stay indoors and apply to practicums, read more, write more, and learn other skills such as walking on ice? A skill that we will use many times in our professional lives, risking to achieve, to get from point A to point B. Then came New England’s spring, which is normally in the Heller time zone, not strictly on time. But always, always it will come.

Some of us did it twice; others had enough with one round of New England seasons and left to experience what the seasons felt like in other parts of the world. But we all learned that perpetual and constant change is what makes this world be alive, and we have chosen to be catalysts of this change. And to be good catalysts we need to be resilient to harsh conditions. And we need to take care of ourselves, as our partners, friends, sponsors, Heller and BOLLI families have taken care of us as promises of change and hope.

We know that we have chosen a challenging professional life, driven by our personal passions. There is no doubt about it, because we have followed our hearts. We have not settled, and having tasted what not settling feels like, we will do it again.

We have embraced the seasons as they change. We have learned that the solutions to common and unusual problems lie in our creativity and in sharing our knowledge. And most importantly we now know that there is the prospect of rebirth every spring.

You and I, and all of the Heller community are like spring, we are capable of giving life to change, to conservation, and to creation.

All four seasons were adorned by what I will miss the most, open doors to our professors’ offices and knowledge, authentic culinary experiences from around the world, and the Heller corridors filled with walking sources of information on tenths of country profiles, languages, religions and even sciences.

Now that we have fresh memories from the last two years of hard work and we recognize that we have experienced a life changing rebirth with this spring… Congratulations! Yes, we have made it through cold papers, hot deadlines, stormy group meetings and colorful cultural nights.

Let us be sure to keep a warm heart, a kind character, a calm mind, and a fresh spirit. And in the words of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, please remember that “they can cut all the flowers, but they cannot stop spring.”

Thank you, congratulations class of 2015 and keep on blooming!