“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”: Read opening remarks from student speaker Pamela Fleming
Pamela Fleming from South Milwaukee has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Fleming worked at Ascension St. Elizabeth in Appleton for her final clinical internship, caring for laboring mothers, assisting with infant care and assessments in the neonatal intensive care unit and nursery, as well as nursing postpartum. At UWO, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for her involvement, leadership and strong academics; the founders’ prize for the positive representation of Greek life; and the Titan LeadHERship recognition for leadership, women’s empowerment and passion for inclusion. After graduation, Fleming will move to Washington where she will work as a labor and delivery nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. She hopes to someday get a master’s degree in nursing or public health, with a specialization in reproductive health.
The following are Fleming’s prepared remarks delivered at UW Oshkosh’s 57th year-beginning afternoon ceremony:
Think back to when you made the decision to be at UWO. Think about the emotions you felt when you made that decision and when you started your first year on campus. Maybe you were excited, anxious, scared, impatient, or indifferent. But no matter how you felt, you took the plunge and embraced the journey you were about to begin. You wouldn’t be here today if you hadn’t taken that first frightening step. Think about the lessons you learned during your time at UWO. Every experience you have had at UWO, be it good, bad or otherwise, has provided valuable learning experiences and allowed you to be who you are today. For me, I’ve learned the following: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Do something every day that scares you, because if it doesn’t scare you, it won’t change you. And if you trust and believe in the power you wield to make things happen, the sky is the limit.
Look where you are sitting today. We are all here because we have pushed each other through the hardships and uncertainties of college. Think back to your first few weeks here, when you didn’t know anyone and were more alone than ever, when you realized you were the only non-traditional student in an 18-year-old room. Think about the times you wanted to quit, the late nights at the library when you gave up all hope of passing that exam, gave up hours of sleep just to do the bare minimum on homework and stay afloat, when you didn’t. Haven’t taken that first semester seriously and really ruined your GPA, when you felt like your bucket was about to overflow and there was no way you could spare you some inevitable fallout.
But you didn’t quit. You went to events on campus and made some friends that you will take with you in the future. You broke the stereotypes of being a non-traditional learner. You spent hours in the library and passed these exams. You’ve probably consumed more caffeine than is medically appropriate and pushed through the night to get your job done. You learned from your mistakes and fought hard to put your grades together. You’ve kept your bucket from overflowing. I’m sure many of us have sought support in recent years from family, friends, faculty, and campus resources, but in the end, it was you who got here today. If you have the power to overcome the fear of those new and uncertain experiences, the voice deep in your head telling you to stop, the sleepless nights, the days when you really thought you wouldn’t get to where you are today. hui, then you are capable of much more than you think.
Now let’s talk about fear. Who else is absolutely terrified that the real adult world is looking us straight in the eye today? We are leaving the comfort of the consistent education that we have had in recent years. But there really is no other option but to embrace the unknown and step into it with confidence. In a few weeks, I’ll be packing up the life and safety I’ve always known in Wisconsin and taking them with me to Seattle. I don’t know anyone there, I have no idea what area and where I’m going to live, but I do anyway. I do it because it terrifies me. I joined my sorority because it terrified me. I was engulfed in fear the first time I had to speak in our chapter meeting. The shy and calm person I started out with eventually became a fearless leader and became the chapter president. When my mother passed away just days before I started the most difficult semester of the nursing program, I had never been so scared in my life. I was confronted with my instructors telling me that maybe it would be better if I gave up. But I was stronger than that. The fear of failure drove me to succeed. The fear of having to face the wrath of my retired policeman from a father kept me (mostly) on my best behavior. Thanks for that one daddy!
Fear is therefore not always a bad thing. When you combine fear with your own intrinsic power and motivation to succeed, nothing can stop you. I always think back to the quote I shared a few minutes ago: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. This turned out to be true during my time at UWO. The person I was when I got here in first grade and the person standing in front of you today are poles apart, and that’s all because I embraced my fears and stepped out of my zone. comfort. Progress and change only happen if you make it happen. The challenges, setbacks, and experiences you have had here are just the beginning of your transformation, but have given you the tools to be successful and shaped you to be who you are today. It’s up to you to make your future exactly what you want it to be. Go ahead and make it happen. And remember to always treat people with kindness.