facebook twitter flickr you tube pinterest

Jacqlyn Schott

Jacqlyn SchottWell, here we are. These people you see here before you are about to act out for you the story of—wait. That was how I opened the play Antigone in high school. Let me try again. Well, here we are. These people you see here before you are about to embark on the most important journey of their lives, our lives: life after college. I found it only fitting that I open my message to you all the same way I opened my high school theatre’s show, because it is not often that one is granted the opportunity to begin something rather than come in during the middle or even at the end. And that is exactly what this is for us: an opportunity to begin.

When I began my Otterbein journey, I was lost. For my first quarter here, I questioned my decision to turn down significant scholarships won at another university. I questioned my choice of major; I questioned my choice to go to school two hours away from home when I had no car…I questioned myself. I fell into a deep depression—I thought I would never find my way out—and was almost considering transferring schools…and then, something magical happened: I took Dr. Tammy Birk’s Intro to Literary Studies class. Little did I know that this would save me.

I had always had natural aptitude for English, so I figured I might as well take a class in it even though it was not my major. About halfway through the quarter, Tammy asked to meet with me in her office. I remember being so nervous, so anxious…doubting myself…but then she sat me down and told me that the English major needed me…needed me. I remember little else of that meeting but those words…that one single moment changed everything. That was the first time I felt significant, the first time I felt like my presence mattered at Otterbein….and I could not help but shine.

Now here I am, three years later, standing before you as an English Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. I have had dinner with a famous author, I have had a play published, I have held countless positions on this campus, I was editor for a ‘zine, I’ve won writing awards, I’ve spoken at large events…I am significant... and I am sure that each and every one of you have also found significance on Otterbein journey, too.

Let this be the start of a new journey: a new beginning; what has happened before this point, all of those agonizing all-nighters, all of the papers, reports, experiments, tests, donut runs, rushes, presentations, movie nights…have helped us get to where we are today along with the people in our lives who encouraged us, stood by us, and, by letting their own light shine, gave us permission for us to do the same. By recognizing our significance, we can now share our light with others and allow them to shine, as well.

So we must continue to be and continue to become significant. Not just significant to the world, to society...we must become significant to ourselves. We must continue growing, we must continue striving, we must continue reaching no matter where our new journey takes us…even if some of us are still at a loss of what to do after we graduate, we mustn’t be lost to ourselves…we must be ourselves, bravely…

A very wise professor, one who I call my OtterMom, once quoted Andrea Dworkin:

Does the sun ask itself,
"Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?"
No, it burns and it shines.
Does the sun ask itself,
"What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?"
No it burns, it shines.
Does the sun ask itself,
"Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?"
No, it burns, it shines.

Welcome to your graduation, class of 2013. And always remember to be significant…always remember to burn and shine.

Jacqlyn Schott is an English major with concentrations in Literary Studies and Creative Writing and a Women's, Gender and Sexualities Studies major. On campus she has served as a writing consultant in the Writing Center, resident assistant, orientation leader, and Host & Tour guide. Jacqlyn has also been involved with Otterbein's feminist 'zine, kate; Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society; Otterbein's humanities journal, Aegis, and Quiz & Quill literary magazine, and Freezone.