177th Commencement: Jewett Orator Jessica Johnson

Jewett Competition Speech
May 11, 2014

​How do you measure your time at Marietta College?

One million, four hundred thousand, five hundred twenty eight minutes, the exact time myself and fellow classmates have spent here on Marietta’s campus. Nine Hundred and seventy three days, from when we walked up to this very stage for matriculation to this very graduation day. Seventy two Exams taken, a number in which I am sure can vary for each of us. Eight all-nighters pulled, a number in which I know can definitely vary between each of us graduates. Finally, one place to which we have called home the past four years.

Good Afternoon and Welcome Family, Friends, Faculty, Staff, Trustees, and the class of 2014.

I want to congratulate my fellow classmates on reaching this accomplishment today and want to thank everyone who has come here to share it with us today. 

 When I began thinking of what to write for this speech, I thought how was I going to measure my time at Marietta? The events I witnessed, the experiences I had, and even some of the classes I took. Then I thought, why I have hundreds of things I can measure my time here in.

When looking back at all the experiences and moments we have from Marietta, each year seemed like a new light, a new dawn, and even possibly a new chance it wouldn’t rain on Doo Dah Day.

Back in 2010, when we first arrived here at Marietta College, The New Orleans Saints were Super Bowl Champions and the team to beat on Monday night, Toy Story 3 had just came out in theatres, making us feel way older than college students, and Tik Tok by Kesha was at the top of the billboards and the song you blasted in your car.

However what was truly special that year was we each took our very first steps onto the 5th Street mall. We took our first classes, which thanks to mine I think I can now accurately tell you the top guitarists of all time. No one can ever forget their first class, especially if it was History if Rock and Roll?

For many of us it was the first time we went to Club MC, where all of us at least signed up for a club or two, or five, or nine. I was so nervous to talk to upper classman that of course I signed up for every club I was asked to, even if it was the physics club. Thankfully they didn’t give a science placement test or this kid would not have made the cut.

Freshmen year was also great because it was the first time most of us were out on our own. We could stay up late, eat pizza for breakfast, and wait three weeks to do laundry.

Seneca, the philosopher said “As long as you live, keep learning how to live,” That first year was a year of learning and survival, like how it actually does take about 3 hours to study for every hour you are in class. Or the fastest way to find a cleaning lady after you have locked yourself out of your room while taking to the shower.

We grew up fast and what seemed like an eternity soon thankfully changed into sophomore year. We all finally had a year under our belts. We weren’t the fresh meat or new kids on the block anymore. It was our second year to make mark on campus, which oddly enough the number two seemed to be a theme that year.

Two, the number of times you could count on your bathroom in Parsons to flood, that you have to call Campus Police at one in the morning. Two, the number of trips to Cone-n-shake one must make during a week. Once you find that little hole in the wall on Pike street, the addiction begins and sometimes you think to yourself “What flavor Royal slush to get today?”

And finally, two, national championships the baseball team earned back to back that year. Even though I hardly knew any of the players, once we walk on campus we are all Pioneers here. So when those boys hit postseason I was glued to my computer screen, constantly shouting “Go Pios!” all the way into what became junior year.

This was the year each of us started to adopt the ideology “we are MC” and most of us started to take a chance on the many great opportunities Marietta has to offer. Such as Alumni trips to D.C, Philly, or Boston. Or internships with the Today Show, the Governors’ Office, or Cleveland City Accounting firms. Or for some of us it met getting away for a semester to explore a study abroad from China to Brazil to doing a semester at sea. 

Junior year was the time when we all jammed into Ban Johnson Fieldhouse to count the seconds of each of the 3 overtimes it took in the Men’s basketball team to win semifinals beating Wilmington and making to the OAC championship. It was also the time that we counted the minutes we had to wait in line to have our last be loved college burrito.

 We started to look for our passions to find our purpose. T.D. Jakes said “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose” And it was this search for our future that soon led us to the final year.

Senior Year, the most important year of all. How does one begin to measure senior year?

By the cups of coffee you have to drink to stay up late to finish your capstone project, It’s like Victor Hugo said “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”

Or can you count it on the one Glorious Snow Day in February, where the number of snow ball fights, sledding trips, and snowmen were endless.

Can you measure it by the crazy grin Putnam the Pio had on his face when he comes to see you in Gilman, or by the number of Qdboa trips for chips and salsa. This year has seemed to slip by so fast, that its feels surreal being here today at graduation.  

As you all measure your free t-shirts you got from each event you went to, or recall the times you stayed up late talking to your friends even though you had an exam the next day, I have a few last measurements I would like to share with you.

One thousand, four hundred thirty students, the number of smiles you can count on see walking up and down the mall each day.  3,920,400 square feet, the size of Marietta College which sounds really big but it still only takes 5 minutes to walk across campus. Winnie the Pooh once said “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Marietta may be a small liberal arts college down by the river, but for each of us it was home for however brief of time. I hope as each of you look back on your time here at Marietta that you remember the satisfaction of getting your first A on a paper, or the laughter you shared with friends while sitting talking at Gilman, but most importantly the triumph you feel today as you walk across the stage and receive your diploma. Each of you have such a bright futures, that I congratulate you class of 2014 on finishing this first step on your journey, now let’s go out and show the world what Marietta graduates are made of.