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WGU Graduate Speaker, Daniel Freeman, Summer 2009
WGU Graduate Speaker, Daniel Freeman, Summer 2009
Western Governors University
<p>Daniel Adam Freeman earned his Bachelor of Science, Marketing Management degree. On July 11, 2009 Freeman was a graduate speaker at the Summer 2009 WGU Commencement. This WGU Commencement took place at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Daniel Adam Freeman: Good morning. As I look out, I'm reminded of the decision from many years ago that I would never stand in the graduating class of any university anywhere in the world. I decided to educate myself and find people who did what I wanted to do, but here I am. And I've discovered that WGU is anything but a traditional university. And it is an honor to be here and to be a part of this graduating class, to be a part of you.</p> <p>If you notice me dancing around while I speak today, it is not because I'm really, really excited to be up here, although I do love to speak. It's because I drank way too much water this morning. I cannot eat anything before I speak generally, so this morning, I did not pay attention, and I drank way too much water. [Laughter]</p> <p>I'm gonna talk about two things today. But before I do that, I'm gonna share with you my story. The two things I'm gonna talk to you about here in a moment is a sandbox and magic. And to begin with, my story began many years ago. I've moved dozens of times in my life with my family. I was homeschooled for six years and then attended six high schools after that. Change is what I've lived and breathed all my entire life. I cannot imagine what it would be like to grow up in one place or two experience the same life for a number of years. If things stayed the same too long, I changed them on my own. It drives my mother crazy.</p> <p>But about eight years ago, I started pursuing an education, and I went to college, and I just couldn’t sit in class that long. Eighteen weeks in one spot without traveling was way too long to stay put. And as I began to go to school, the grades suffered because I would work fulltime, sometimes practically seven days a week, go to school every night in the evening until 10:00 p.m., and attempt to have a social life as well on the weekends. And that took its toll, and I just burned the candle on both ends until there was nothing left. And I started and stopped school four or five times, dropped out occasionally, and traveled and pursued education through seminars. And that was my life. That was what I did.</p> <p>The traditional way, I just couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t stay there. And at some point, I started working at the University of Phoenix. This was just after I'd attained my associate's degree. It took me five years to obtain it, which I hear is pretty average nowadays. So I began working at the University of Phoenix, and there I met a woman who is currently my mentor today, Eunice [Inaudible]. And we had a great time. I worked there for a while, and she quit to come here. And she told me about that program and what it was about, the fact that it was competency based. You paid based on time, not on credits. And it intrigued me.</p> <p>And so once I quit working at the University of Phoenix, about a year later, I called her up and said, "Hey, what was the name of that university? What was it all about?" And I started classes here in February. And it's July. Since then, I've done 103 credits to stand here before you today. [Applause]</p> <p>The University of Phoenix is a wonderful institution, but coming here, I discovered – I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago. The time savings and money savings from coming here cut down my program by a number of years and saved me over $27,000 just to come here to WGU. So I would like to specifically thank Eunice for everything that she's done and for encouraging me and pushing me to do my best and to – you know, some days, I was like, "Ah, I don't know. You know, I'm gonna go four wheeling, or I'm gonna go on some dates." She specifically told me once to tell my temptress of a girlfriend to watch out. She was taking too much of my time. And I did that. It was a pretty interesting experience. [Laughter]</p> <p>I would also like to thank my mother. For many, many years, we had many discussions, talks, argument, whatever you would like to call them, about the need to get an education, the need to get a degree. And she has just really been there for me and been there to bless my life and help me. And I know there's those people in your lives as well, who've prayed for you to be here and to finish your degree, to be able to do that to improve your lives. So to be sure to thank them for everything that they've done, and the prayers and the time that they've spent with you to encourage you to improve your life.</p> <p>This entire journey has reminded me of one of my favorite analogies that someone presented to me last year to help me through a trying crisis in my life. It was the idea of a sandbox. When we were all young and we played in the sandbox, it was its own little world. We could step into the sandbox and begin to play, to build, to create, and we forgot about everything else. Now we simply were involved and present in the moment. We didn't question. We didn't ask. We didn't think what other people thought and wonder if we could or we should. We didn't think about it. We just simply stepped into the sandbox and played.</p> <p>And every single one of you here in this room that's graduating, every one of you here today, has at various times in your lives stepped into the sandbox before you and played. There have been other times when we have set on the sidelines. We've questioned ourselves and wondered. But it is stepping into the sandbox of life that we have become fully significant, and we achieve serenity in our lives.</p> <p>Serenity is something we achieve by virtue of the relationship we hold with ourselves. Significance is something we achieve by virtue of the relationships we hold with others. Dr. Samuel Smith, in talking to him just a little bit last night, I think has very well shown that in his life. He's very serene and at peace with what he has done and who he is. And he has become significant because of his service to others. And that is a lesson for all of us. And I encourage you now with your degrees and with what you have done to step forward into your lives, into the sandboxes before you, to step in and play with abandon.</p> <p>The last point I'd like to make very quickly is just about magic. And it's something that I've thought about a lot this past couple of weeks and months. I work in the wilderness with youth, and a lot of times in life, we try to avoid the hard experiences that we have and try to escape them or limit them in our lives. And as I thought about the experiences in my life that have been magical, and today is one of them, I've thought about why they became magical. And I realized that it was only because of the hardship it took to get there that the experience was magical. </p> <p>So as you go through life, and you experience hardships and those hard times in family with your friends and your personal life, remember that those hard moments will only serve to make the future all that much more magical. And perhaps that's why, in the search for spouses or eternal companions, perhaps that's why it's so magical when someone actually does find them, which I have not yet done, by the way. But I assume that's the reason they say it's so magical. I have yet to do it. It has not yet been magical. [Laughter]</p> <p>But congratulations to each and every one of you. It has been a pleasure playing with you in the sandbox here at WGU.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
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