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As my friend says: you matter more than you think


Congratulations, graduates!

Whether you are graduating or celebrating with a friend or family member who is graduating, graduation is the best time of year.

It’s a time to honor the accomplishments of finishing a degree and starting on the next chapter of your life. Feel that joy!

Because of this, I’m incredibly optimistic for you and the future. I am confident about the future because you all have the skills and knowledge for not only your first job but also the jobs of the future. These jobs (and careers) will support your family and make a positive difference in the world. 

One of my friends from graduate school (hint: stay in touch with those friends you’ve made) wrote a book called “You Matter More Than You Think.” The book is thoughtful and insightful on who matters in changing the trajectory of global climate change. She describes how the small actions of many create a significant capacity for social change. I mention this because I hope you will stay in contact with your friends from ASU and also want to amplify what she said in this book: that we all matter: that you matter. 

Let me give you an example from my life. My dream was to have a career that would help stop the destruction of tropical rainforests. If you read the current reports on rainforest loss, you may think I have failed in that goal. However, I do believe I made a difference. In the early 1990s, I launched a geographic information system for the La Selva biological research station in Costa Rica, operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies. I created many of the data layers available on their website today. I have no idea who is using them — and it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the legacy of that work — and it is leading to more knowledge about tropical rainforests and how tropical rainforests contribute to the global ecosystem.

Seeing that website gives me hope and in turn, that hope makes me hopeful for you. 

I hope that you:

· Feel joy and celebrate (Yay for graduation day!).

· Stay connected to the people who matter to you (family and friends from graduate school).

· Follow your dreams!

So, congratulations graduates! 🎓

Written by Dean Libby Wentz, edited by Marjani Hawkins