This month, we’re honored to share the graduate remarks delivered to the Class of 2022, College leadership, faculty, family and friends by during our Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2022.
Commencement Speaker Spotlight
Alison Stauffer ’22
Graduate, Three-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program
Graduates. Here we are. The moment we have been dreaming of. The day we get to honor all our hard work. Congratulations. Today marks the end of one journey and opens the door to another. Each of us here has made sacrifices, endured long hours of studying, and made many memories. As you are here, today, sitting in front of your family, friends, and faculty, think back to who you were before all of this started. How have you changed? What inspired you to choose this path? All of us have reasons for everything we do. Whether you wanted to become a respiratory therapist because your grandparent had lung cancer, you wanted to become a nurse because someone took care of you when you were sick, you became a surgical tech because you think the inside of the human body is fascinating, or you chose to be a sonographer because you wanted to help people. Whatever that reason may be, hold onto it. Lock it up and place it deep in your heart for the stormy days. That little piece of sunshine may be all you need to keep going.
In the world today, there seems to be a consistent amount of crisis. I mean look at us, the class that completed college during a pandemic, one mask at a time. Entering the medical field was a choice for each of us, whether we knew what we were getting into or not. I started my journey at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s ICU as a PtCA before I transitioned into the NICU at their Women and Babies Hospital. The ICU forced me to open my eyes and look at the world around me. I was suddenly transformed from a high school student to someone who had the power to make a difference in someone else’s life crisis every single shift. With consistent death, illness, and then the pandemic, I found peace in the little moments.
One of these moments that I will always remember is the day we were transferring a patient on hospice care to another unit. We pulled his bed up to the floor-length windows. He couldn’t even lift his own head to look out the window. I lifted it for him, and he felt the sunshine on his face and smiled with tears in his eyes. I couldn’t help but cry myself knowing the connection I had with this man made a difference in both of us. This career we chose will forever change our hearts and the hearts of others if we allow it.
What I learned from this experience I carry with me every day. We all know life is a series of countless moments tied together on an up and down continuum. Good or bad, we never know what is going to happen next. To get through the hard moments, I promised myself that I would never allow myself to get used to death and sadness. Acceptance is different from acknowledgment. Allow yourself to accept each of those moments. Never harden your heart. Never allow these moments to become “normal” or “a part of the job”. Yes, we cannot take each moment home with us and allow it to consume us. Rather, learn how to accept these moments rather than simply acknowledge and move on. Whatever you do, allow yourself to feel.
We have been consistently overcoming challenges left and right since this all began. We have become resilient and the differences we can make because of these challenges are going to be evident in our practice for years to come. This career path is ever changing and full of opportunity. Whatever your heart desires, chase it. The key to success is knowing your own heart. Know yourself and you will be able to fill others. Each of us can make a difference in the world around us in our own unique way. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Whatever it was that brought you to this career, guided you here for a reason. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. Treasure this not so little moment and find your peace. Thank those who helped you get here. Be proud of you. Your future patients are waiting. Thank you.
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!