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Karen Castro

Karen Castro

“What would you do today if you could not fail? Then do it.”

Karen CastroGood Morning, I am excited to be here in front of you today to celebrate the milestone we have reached. I was recently in Italy and was inspired by a quote I heard while I was on my trip. “What would you do today if you could not fail?” As I was thinking about this quote, I realized that usually what hold us back is the fear of failing, of doing things wrong. This is an appropriate quote for us as we are starting a new chapter on our lives; most of us are probably scared or nervous about “real life” starting, I know I was and I still am.

In my case for instance, I recently started working at the Ohio House of Representatives and although I made my first step as an adult, I still have a lot of things to do like find an apartment, learn how to make a budget and stick to it and even learn how to repay my student loans! I honestly haven’t done any of those things yet because I am so scared I am going to mess something up, miss a payment or pick the wrong place to live. Going back to the quote I mentioned. We need to remember that even though we are fearful of whatever life holds for us, we can’t let fear hold us back.

This part of our lives is very similar to four to five years ago at the end of our senior year of high school. We were unsure of what college we were going to go to, who we were going to have as a roommate and for some, if we had even picked the right major.

But look at us today; we are all here because we pushed through that fear. And for the parents, I bet most were fearful of letting their kids go off to college, questioning if you had raised them right, if they were going to be doing the right things while they were gone. Well parents, I bet you are extremely proud of us for doing things right, even if we procrastinated and started writing our research papers at 11 p.m. the night before. And to the professors: We got our papers in on time, right?

I want us to look at how much change the Class of 2012 made for Otterbein in the past 4 years. If we had been fearful, we wouldn’t have all these new programs at Otterbein. We assisted with the conversion of Otterbein College to Otterbein University; we requested that there were more study abroad programs, so now we have multiple classes offered during J-term for travel; we pushed for a Women’s Studies program, which only a very few campuses have as a major; we’ve created new organizations and have been role models for the incoming classes.

The Class of 2012 is a competitive class. Look around the room. You are surrounded by leaders, people with goals and aspirations. We are a testament of how we can go above and beyond and we have to thank Otterbein for giving us the resources to do that. This institution has given us the competence and ambition to seek competitive positions in the job market and obtain them. Many of our class members are obtaining very competitive jobs in nursing, accounting and theater, just to name a few. Some of us have decided to move onto higher education and been accepted into prestigious universities schools like Georgetown University and American University with fellowships and scholarships. We need to give ourselves a round of applause for everything we have achieved.

Do you remember the slogan that said “Otterbein: Take it With You”? All of us are going to take a part of Otterbein with us, BUT we are leaving a part of us behind on this campus to inspire future generations to be leaders like us. So I just want to ask everyone in the room, “What would you do today if you could not fail?” Whatever it is, seek your passions and go do it.

Thank you.