Average is the New Exceptional – Binghamton University Commencement remarks

Average is the New Exceptional – Binghamton University Commencement remarks

October 9, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Good afternoon fellow students . . . professors, TA’s, RA’s . . . LSAT and GRE tutors; Sodexo workers . . . overly emotional parents, annoying little
brothers and sisters . . . grandparents who cannot believe
Binghamton is this cold. And, people who accidentally walked
in here, thinking there was a basketball game. I hope to inspire many of you, with the speech I have prepared. Some of you may smile; some may cry. But, I especially hope to make the woman
doing sign language laugh, at least once. [Laughter and clapping]. When I was told I was going to be the
undergraduate speaker at Commencement Ceremony . . . They said that it was because of one quality I had, that won the interviewers over. I was an average Binghamton student. I said finally, our time has come, for far too long . . . our voices, the voices of the average have been drowned out in a sea of unique individuals. and, overly exceptional people. [Laughter and Clapping] There’s more; trust me. All the years of relative mediocrity and refusing to think outside the box have finally paid off. We, the average, who have continued to prove that procrastination . . . and apathy are not just big words, but
also a way of life. [Laughter and clapping]. This speech is for the student who has never seen extra credit as an opportunity . . . But instead, a threat. This same student who still believes
that one day . . . there will be a snow day. This speech, is for the professor who
understands that Wikipedia . . . is the greatest invention on the 21st
Century. [Laughter and clapping]. And, Turnitin.com, is not, at all. Ever! [Laughter]. This speech is for the parent who sends large packages of Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids, every Halloween. Thank you, Mom. [Laughing]. This speech is for the parents, who told
everyone they know; and even complete strangers . . . about how their daughter is getting a scholarship to go to the University of Maryland . . . But their son couldn’t find a job in
Binghamton. Thank you, Dad. [Laughter] Looking back to freshman year, it does feel like it was only yesterday . . . The first class. The first test. The first roommate. The second roommate. The third roommate. The figuring out that you were the problem. The first and only encounter with a
frat party. The first and only encounter with a
girl. The first time you realized, you really learned money does not grow on trees . . . It’s actually millions of cotton fibers, woven together . . . But, there are no sheep in Binghamton, so
you had to call your parents . . . and they send you a sheep in the mail
and then you had to clarify. The point is, we all came to Binghamton
University knowing little of what we would become or what we would accomplish. But, we will leave knowing who we are and that is a gift to be treasured and remembered. Maybe, maybe average is the new exceptional. We live in a culture that emphasizes
wealth, power and achievement. We’re taught by society that we should strive for fame, fortune and the American dream. fortune and the American Dream. I’m sorry to say, average will never be fame or fortune or the American Dream. average is something much more. Average is the parent who drives their son or daughter to school every day so their child may have a better life than the one they had. Average is the professor who helps you
understand that knowing who you are and owning your own sense of identity . . . will not only make you a stronger individual here, but more importantly in life. Average is the professor who teaches you that the “Cosby Show” broke racial barriers. “South Park” broke cultural barriers and “Sex in the City,” did nothing for women’s lib. Average is the LSAT tutor who hated
law school and wishes they could do it all over again . . . but, loves working with students. Average is the girlfriend taking the LSAT; leaving you to hope and pray that she becomes the sugar momma, you know she can be. [Laughing] Average is the roommate who understands that a major portion of the college experience . . . is reverting back to things, you thought were cool, in the 3rd Grade. Playing Nintendo 64, watching Ren and
Stimpy and eating Lunchables, for dinner. Average is knowing that you don’t
receive respect, you earn it. And, you aren’t given opportunity; you fight for it. And, if anyone tries to tell you different, they’re lying. Average is amazing! Next to Twinkies and Facebook, average
is one of the greatest things in the world. And, I know that today is supposed to be
about celebrating our graduation from Binghamton. But, we also need to celebrate the people around us. The people who helped shape us into who
we are now. Today, represents the beginning, for all of us. And, I encourage you. No. I implore you — to say thank you. Thank your friends, your professors, your family, even thank your little sisters. And, then celebrate the beginning, together. As we look ahead, into the future . . . Do not forget the lessons of the past. Remember people . . . that aspired to achieve greatness. Kanye West. [Laughing] Sarah Palin. Britney Spears. Glenn Beck. Let’s face it, being average has its perks. No one thinks you’re crazy and people will
generally like you. Which brings me to my final point. Rather than saying something tripe or
corny about Binghamton being a stepping stone in the journey of our lives . . . I wanna leave you all with a quote from a personal hero of mine. In the immortal words of Fergie, from the Black Eyed Peas . . . [Laughter] “Tonight’s gonna be a good night.” Thank you! [Clapping]