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Nicole Herbig – Valedictorian Speech 2018

It’s an honor and a privilege to stand before you a Valedictorian of the Pillar College Graduating Class of 2018. A lot of diligence, necessary perseverance and Godly assistance went into getting me to where you see me today. As I stand before you, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the concept of change as we presently face one of the biggest transformations of our lives. Everything changes all the time. From the length of your hair and the leaves on the trees, to the tone of your child’s voice. The art of life is a constant readjustment to our ever-changing surroundings and a vital aspect of this change is the element of completion. With every new beginning comes an end, and with every season finale there is an equally joyous and devastating whirlwind of emotions that overwhelms us as we are pushed to be brave and persevere through the transitions which we face. Pillar College Graduates of 2018, you are in the midst of abundant change. As we prepare to move our tassels we simultaneously prepare for the next phase of our lives. For some of us that’s graduate school, for others it’s climbing up the metaphorical ladder in our existing place of work or pursuing a new job opportunity, and still, for many of us, we remain steadfast in uncertainty. For the past four years, Pillar College has been a principal element of our identity; a reliable constant during times of intense turbulence and transformation. For the past four years we’ve always had our coursework, our professors, and our classmates, and as we stand here today, many of us mourn these apparent recognize this and this difficult adjustment. Most of those close to me know how emotionally, physically and spiritually draining his process was for me initially. There were many moment of tears, many moments of panic and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty as I faced the unknown. But even though everything changes all the time, life’s transitions are not without purpose. So what if there is ambiguity? God may be a God of mystery, but His mystery is not chaos. Every sleepless night dedicated to ten page papers; every cup of coffee and cup of ramen used to fuel your motivation; every tear cried as you stared at your textbook distraught by the idea of having to read another page – though they may have felt disorderly and purposeless in the moment, God used these things to propel you to where you sit today. So face this world of ambiguity with determination and be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire, because even when the changes are taxing and life is seemingly chaotic, God is still using all of these things to work together for your good.
Thank you to our selfless professors for consistently exceeding expectations to ensure we achieve our dreams. Professor Russ, Dr. Hardy, Professor Sartori, Dr. Brewer – the impact you’ve had on my life is an immeasurable blessing. Thank you to the faculty and staff who regularly managed our occasionally sassy phone calls and yet continued to show us grace and support. Mrs. Betzi Schroeder and Mrs. Lorraine Hodges will forever hold a special place in my heart for upholding such unwavering patience and understanding throughout every one of my personal interactions, regardless of how vibrant or pompous I was. Thank you to our loved ones who came alongside us and provided us such firmly rooted support during this period of radical metamorphosis. To my mother and father, a lot of this could not have been accomplished without you. And thank you to all of our classmates, many of whom now hold a special place in our hearts as friends. These relationships are what truly aided in our ability to persevere. Michael, Denise, Amber, and Cara – I hold infinite love for you. You have helped so immensely in shaping me into who I am today. From the deepest part of my heart I thank each one of you for not only being my friends, but for also growing to be a part of my family.
And a personal thank you to Professor Thomas – the man behind all of us within SGA. Approximately 5 thousand phone calls, 1 million excessively long texts, and 20 thousand voice memos later and I am still eternally grateful for your dedication to bettering us as individuals. I could give you my three point rationale behind this statement, but that would simply take up too much time. And a special thank you to many of the faces that are seen and unseen that help us every day; Bob and Ingrid, Amy, Dr. Schroeder – these people are behind everything we do at Pillar College and they deserve a round of applause. Pillar College Graduating Class of 2018 – take a look around you. Look at the people around you – no seriously look around you. Our lives are transforming before our eyes, and within this very moment how we endure this change defines what’s to come. So take a deep breath, accept the ambiguity, and trust God’s plan. Today marks the beginning of your forever.
Thank you.
If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Pillar, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in your future career. For more information on how Pillar College can help you pursue your ministry and educational goals, please phone us at 973-803-5000 or email [email protected].