And just like that 4 years are over. You are now looking at a TexasEx, a UT alum. I had a wonderful undergraduate career. It unleashed my leadership potential and shaped me into the person I am today. I look at where I am today, as a 2011 Teach for America Corps member and I acknowledge that UT had a large part in me getting here. Jesus Christ had an even larger part in me becoming who I am. I am constantly amazed at how He perfectly orchestrated every event in my life to lead to this point. Let me spell it out for you
- It all started out with a “Dear Ebitimi (that’s me), you are invited to join the University of Texas Summer Freshman class…”
- I came to UT in the summer and attended Summer Orientation where I fell in love with being a Longhorn. It was also met Funto, who introduced me to Gbemi, and Tobi who all lived in Kinsolving where Uche and Anthony lived. I met Roshini who was lived across the hall from the room where I lived with Michelle. Logan was our RA (and a great one at that) and Gabe was another super great RA. It was them that inspired me to be an RA. I wanted to make new students feel as comfortable and welcome as them made me feel.
- I joined the African Students Association where I met Ogechi, Soluto, Raymond, Lande, Moyo, Saviour, FT, Tobi, Vanessa, and Lanre.
- I applied to be a Resident Assistant, but got put on the waitlist. Because I had a relatively free semester because I didn’t get the job, I had space in my schedule for a leadership opportunity…one like Orientation!
- I was walking by a kiosk by the Student Services Building and I saw a poster for applying to be an Orientation Advisor. I filled out an application, crossed my fingers, and prayed. I got the job, which is how I met the legendary Kyle S. Clark. As how I met the soon-to-be-legendary Jamaal.
- I saw pictures of the Communications school graduation. One look at the sea of red and I knew I wanted to be a Comm school graduate. (For real, that’s what convinced me to change my major). I applied for a change of major.
- After my summer as an OA, I got the job as a Resident Assistant, which is how I met my boss and mentor Alvin. I met my work family Jennifer, Tim, Chelsea, Kylee, Marissa, Ale, Alex, Alexis, Brody, 9, Tim, Walker, Celeste, Jonathan, At the same time I got hired as an RA, I signed up to do be a co-director of the Multicultural Leadership Institute with Gbemi at the Multicultural Information Center (it is now the called the Multicultural Engagement Center).
- I got into the Comm school and crammed my Comm classes with my Afr classes, 18 hours at a time.
- I gained a lot of leadership, which led me to run for Vice President of the African Students Association, with Raymond as President and Lande as my predecessor.
- Evelyn told me about a Naturallycurly.com internship. I got the job (by God’s grace). Met some really nice people. Worked on some fun projects.
- Meanwhile, my love for Ut rubbed off on my little sister and she will be attending UT in the fall as a freshman. Her twin will be at Howard. I couldn’t be more proud.
- I was walking by the PCL library and I saw a poster about applying for Teach for America. I walked a few more steps and saw another and another. I applied. Prayed. Waited. And then I got in.
- Then I graduated. 2 majors and a minor. 4 years. Not bad.
- And now I’m here, at Day 1 of TFA Institute. Only God could have done this. To Him be alllll the glory.
Words can’t express how excited I am to be a graduate. Words can’t express how much I will miss UT. So because a picture says a thousand words, I will let them do the talking.
Graduation was epic. It was like UT was giving me one huge pat on the back for making it through. Commencement was a great send off. I had the honor of speaking at UT’s Commencement with five other UT graduating students. Here they are below. Check out Brendan Chan in the…beige? Peach?…Business stoll.
In case you missed it, this is my 60 second speech and my charge to you during this graduation season:
Before graduating from a tier one institution one must demonstrate mastery of certain concepts. Natural Sciences give us an appreciation for the complexity of human life; Fine Arts captures the beauty of self expression; and Social Work fufills the need for human understanding. Regardless of what your major is, there is one essential prerequiste for all graduating students; one piece of knowledge that we must all possess, a knowledge of self.
A knowledge of self, means you are honest about your weaknesses and humble about your strengths.
When you know thyself, you become selfless as you acknowledge your privilege and work to eliminate inequality for others.
A knowledge of self is the key to happiness, success, fufillment.
The journey to self discovery is a lifelong endeavor. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
As you leave these forty acres this evening and perhaps for the rest of your life and I challenge you to Know Thyself and Hook ‘em.
Thought you might like to see some graduation photos done by my friend Moyo Oyelola