Back when we were young young enough to find joy in digging up worms and chasing butterflies we wanted to be somebody.
Maybe it was Spiderman. Or a princess. Or a lion – that flies.
Dreams embedded themselves in our core as soon as we began walking and talking.
Then we got older. Maturity squashed those visions of fantasy.
Somewhere between our first kiss and our first car, we realized that gaining employment as spider web shooters and supreme rulers of the animal kingdom fell short of feasible. So we aimed for more reachable goals. We decided we wanted to become teachers, computer programmers, journalists, artists, geologists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants and speech pathologists, just to name a few.
Not as enchanting as superheroes, but, still, we wanted to be somebody.
For 4,264 of West Virginia University’s newest graduates, we’re a whisper away from becoming that somebody.
What a ride it has been.
Hailing from 46 states and 211 countries, we embarked to good ol’ Morgantown, West Virginia.
Sultan Attiah is one of us. A native of Saudi Arabia, Attiah came to WVU four years ago. He saw the community showers in Summit Hall and ate an American dinner on his first night. It was nothing like home.
Yet he persevered, as did the rest of us who finally crossed the stage to receive that certificate of educational attainment over the weekend.
Attiah kept cool. He ate pizza and hamburgers. He made new friends. He found his way at WVU.
Now Attiah, who earned his degree in petroleum engineering, will put his WVU experience to use. He’s going to be somebody. He’s heading home to Saudi Arabia to work as an engineer for an oil company.
Samantha Hess, also a member of the Class of 2012, will become an engineer, too. But she won’t have to travel so far to start her new chapter. The Hedgesville native landed a job as a software engineer for a technology and strategic consulting firm in Bridgeport.
Not all journeys through Morgantown are this clear cut. Some have detours.
Look at L.G. Corder. He first came to WVU in 1998. After two semesters, he decided to leave, worked several odd jobs back home in Belington and wound up in the U.S. Army.
Three deployments to Iraq, a wife, a son and 14 years later, Corder has a law degree.
Even for Corder, who has already accomplished great things as a soldier and a family man, he, too, will become somebody new.
Commencement helps take us there. It’s the one event that celebrates an old chapter and launches into a whole new one altogether.
It’s a culmination of the late nights at the library, the bloodshot eyes in the 8:30 a.m. lectures and the midterm papers that never seemed to end.
We formed identities here. We sang “Country Roads” for the first time. We became unified as one Mountaineer nation.
What got us to Commencement will get us to our next destination.
While our lives as college students may be over, our lives as teachers, computer programmers, journalists, artists, geologists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants and speech pathologists, just to name a few, are about to commence.
We won’t become the superheroes we dreamed about as children, but with the Mountaineer spirit, we’ll move the world in our own special way.
Thank you, WVU.
CONTACT: University Relations/News
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.