Read, Watch & Listen to Graduate Student Speaker Jamel McMullin Jr.’s Convocation Speech

Read, Watch & Listen to Graduate Student Speaker Jamel McMullin Jr.’s Convocation Speech

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Jamel McMullin, Jr. Speech (Click Here)

Closing The Gap 

(Recited May 14, 2016 at Newhouse Convocation in the Carrier Dome)

“Most of my time here at Newhouse up to this point has been spent between being two different people. One who I considered to be an ordinary man, who let life pass him by, who didn’t take advantage of any opportunities, who was lazy and took things for granted, one whom I spent the majority of my time being. And the other, who was smart, who was brilliant, who was beautiful, this man was extraordinary. And for the longest the only thing that I could ever think of, that I could imagine, that I ever wanted, was to realize, was to understand, how do I close the gap, between the person that I was that was ordinary and the person that I wanted to be that was extraordinary. Now the fact of the matter is that I know I’m not the only person from this school that has felt this way. Because I have looked many of you in your eyes and have had many conversations with a lot of you and know the challenges and the struggles that you face as individuals. But here’s the great thing when trying to close the gap and coming to a school such as Newhouse. It has prepared us for the real world in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined and has taught us how to become the people that we have envisioned are selves to be. It has done this in three simple ways.

        First, it taught us how to do the work. In a forever changing digital era, Newhouse has equipped us with the knowledge and the practical skills that it takes to be successful. Muhammad Ali said it best, he said that “if you want to be a champion, you have to be willing to do the lonely work.” This school has taught us how to do the lonely work, how to put in the hours, the time. It has made us realize that there are only 86,400 seconds in a day and how we use them are critical, so that means we have 86,400 seconds in a day to prove who we are, to show are worth. Next, it has taught us how to be dreamers. That we can have anything and everything it is that we want as long as we put our hearts and our minds to it. That we have a chance to pursue greatness, that we are a chosen generation. That we are the next wave of innovators, of creators, of strategists, of advisors, a new breed of communicators that will change perspectives, make history and that will leave our marks on this world. I’m reminded of a friend who said that before she came to Newhouse, she was simply content with life. If its one thing that this school has taught us, its that an ordinary life is not the life for us, that a life of normalcy is completely out of the question. That we can truly be happy and successful at the same time. And lastly, I don’t mean to toot our own horns or anything, but this school has taught us that we are simply the best. That we are a collection of people that can get stuff done like nobody else can. So as you leave hear today, as you go out there into the world, as you face adversity and you will, you always take a step back and remember that you graduated from the greatest communication school in the world and everything it is that you want you deserve. You have the right to walk around with your chest out and with a swagger of confidence because you know that you already have and that you will prove your existence! So thank you to all of the professors, faculty and family members that helped us get here. Without you none of this would be possible. So congratulations and really Newhouse class of 2016, there’s only two words left to say, were out, were out. Thank you.”

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Delisa Morris
Twitter - @morrisdelisa
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Delisa Morris is a current master's in PR candidate and third-year law student at Syracuse University. She studied political science and communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received her bachelor's degree. Delisa is originally from Chicago.

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