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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jeff Solheim, Summer 2011

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jeff Solheim, Summer 2011
Western Governors University
<p>Jeff Solheim graduated with a bachelor's degree in Nursing from online university Western Governors University and spoke at the July 2011 commencement ceremony of the online school.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Dr. Mendenhall, esteemed faculty, mentors, fellow students, family, and friends, let me begin by thanking you today for your presence here. I'm sure most of you in the room are acutely aware of the sacrifices that we, as students, have made over the past few years to reach this point. And your willingness to celebrate with us here today serves as recognition of both the challenges we have faced, and the achievement we have obtained. Why are you going back to school? Are you crazy? If I had a dollar for every time I heard those words, I probably could've paid for most of my tuition.</p> <p>You see, 20 years ago, I graduated from nursing school with a diploma in nursing. And like many nurses who graduated with a diploma in nursing, I had every intention of going back to school early in my career to get my bachelor's degree. But, like many nurses, I found that life got in the way.</p> <p>Shortly after graduation, I was promoted through the nursing ranks: Charge nurse, manager, administration. And from administration, I went to work for the government, and then into the consulting world. And this rapid career progression left me little time for advanced education. And much of the impetus from continuing my education was lost in the success of my career. Every time I thought of going back to school I would ask myself, "Why would you go back to school? Really, what would be gained at this part of your life?"</p> <p>Well, as my career was advancing, I was often invited to speak at venues, including commencement ceremonies and graduations much like this one. And one of the central themes of my presentations as a spoke to graduates was the importance of professionalism in the career. One hallmark of professionalism is continuing education. And I often asked myself how could I talk about professionalism and continuing education when I was not pursuing it myself. This was the momentum I needed to seek my bachelor's degree in nursing. But the question was simple: How would I return to school while balancing a full-time career, family, and social obligations?</p> <p>Western Governors University seemed to be the perfect answer. The competency-based program would allow me to draw on the myriad of life's experiences that had brought me to the point in my life where I was, and would serve as a foundation for the further learning that I knew I needed to do. The self-paced learning style would allow me to continue to grow my companies and pursue my growing speaking career.</p> <p>The looming questions finally had answers. Why are you going back to school? Because it is my professional responsibility. How would I return to school with my busy life? Through a program such as one offered at Western Governors University. So here I am standing before you today having completed not only my bachelor's degree last year, but my master's degree this year. And as I offer this commencement speech, I can hold my head up proudly this time knowing that I am practicing what I preach in regards to professionalism.</p> <p>Now, since each of you has already obtained your degree, I don't feel the need to talk about professionalism today. So instead, I thought I would share just a couple of life's lessons that I have learned that have helped shape the career that have brought me to where I am today.</p> <p>The first life's lesson I would leave with you is to find what you love in life and pursue it with a passion. Each of you has now completed a huge milestone in your life, and for many of you, the question at this point becomes: What do I do now that school is behind me? My recommendation to you is to find the thing in life for which you are most passionate about and apply yourself wholeheartedly to that thing. People who pour themselves into what they love will enjoy it with the greatest success, where those who pursue goals for reasons other than their own passion, such as the pursuit of material wealth or doing what others have suggested you do, will never find the success they desire. True success arises out of pursuing what one is passionate about.</p> <p>So ask yourself now: What is it that I am most passionate about? And after you have answered that question, figure out how you can take the education that you have now completed and apply it to your passion. This will serve as the foundation for future success.</p> <p>The second life's lesson I would share with you today is dream bigger than you ever thought possible. If all barriers could be removed from your life, whatever those may be -- finances, family, and social obligations, ghosts from your past, or any other numerous factors -- what would you like to do? What would be the ultimate success in your life? It is only when we dream that we have a goal for ourselves. You see, life without dreams is like a ship without a rudder. It becomes directionless and it drifts.</p> <p>My final life's lesson I want to share with you today is many times the only thing that stands between you and what you really want is yourself. You may know what your love in life is. You may have dreamed great things. But these only lay down the foundation for success. Finishing the project involved taking risks. We are graduating today in a tough economic time. Some of you have already had a chance to put your education to use, and you're working in the industry you want. I would assume others of you are either working for employment, or looking for a different job that utilizes the new educational level you have just achieved. I urge each of you today to pursue exactly what it is that you want, even if that goal may seem unreachable, because you will never, ever know that you could do until you have tried.</p> <p>Today, we are closing this chapter in our life, the chapter of continuing education. You have proven that you can accomplish incredible things. But as we close one chapter, a blank page sits before us. It's ready to be written upon. Take hold of the pen that records the history of your life. Dream bigger than you ever thought possible. Find what your passion is in life, and don't let self-doubt stand in the way. Begin writing the next chapter of your life. And my wish for you is that you will realize nothing but great success. Congratulations, fellow graduating class here in the summer of 2011.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2017 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)