Commencement Speaker Election
The election period has passed.
All graduating students (class of 2013) can vote for one candidate for commencement speaker
Every time I graduate my parents take me to eat at some fancy restaurant, sometimes even as fancy as Zupas. This will be my fourth graduation, preceded by my high school diploma, an Associate's degree at Dixie State College, and an English degree at the University of Utah. I graduate as often as possible to maximize the number of free dinners I can acquire. Hopefully my parents never realize I've been swindling them for years.
Although I imagine many commencement speakers extol the virtues of the noble legal profession, I don't think that would be my focus if I am chosen to speak. Instead, I'd like to talk about what we've accomplished and experienced. We are graduating from law school. Simply put, that's a pretty big deal. I have come a long way since spending several hours reading Pennoyer v. Neff over a dinner tray in my nearly empty studio apartment three years ago. For example, I now own a desk. I think most of you have come just as far, probably further.
Law school is a unique social and educational experience. Never before have I worked as hard and studied as closely with fellow-students. That means the class of 2013 has witnessed me at my very best and worst, and I suspect that is the case with most of us. Study partners have witnessed me loudly and publicly singing "I Can't Stop This Feeling," binge-eating tacos, dancing myself to literal sickness, and purchasing five quarts of ice cream in a moment of weakness, exposing the fact that I deal with crisis and stress exactly like a 40 year old woman. We've all had our moments, and I'd like to talk about our common experience. And while I can't definitively promise I will not quote Gandalf, I do promise to strike a balance as well as I can between sentiment and humor. Law school graduation requires some of both.
Although I admit I like the idea of speaking, I feel strange about aggressively campaigning. So instead of pleading for your vote I will simply say follow your heart.
Given the opportunity to speak at graduation, I'll do my best to make you smile as I try to answer the question that's been on all of our minds for the past three years: Is law school worth it? Many have tried to answer this question for us, but I will hone in on the perspective that matters most right about now - ours. Is law school worth it? Yes. But not for the reasons that most of us thought were important when we got here three years ago. In the end, it's been worth it for the friendships, the pride that comes with surviving, and the possibility that the person reading the names at graduation might actually pronounce mine correctly.
I am exceedingly proud to join the ranks of the class of 2013, and I would consider it a great honor to speak on our behalf next month. I hope you will give me that opportunity.
I am truly honored to be nominated. If I have the privilege of speaking, here is what to expect:
Reverence for our accomplishments and achievements - this is a day to pat ourselves on the back and to look back from the top of the mountain
Appreciation for our parents, significant others and friends who have supported us on this journey - we did not do this on our own and they deserve our genuine and public gratitude
I will deprecate only myself (early and often)
Jokes that will not offend your grandmother
Jokes your grandmother will not understand
Clichés. Lots of clichés (but used only ironically or unintentionally)
Reach for the stars, don't stop believing, and if you can dream it, you can do it. Thank you for your consideration.
May 2012, I had this crazy idea: "I want to be the student speaker at graduation next year." Anyone who knows me via the various social medias knows I'm a huge fan of my silly hashtags and made-up events (National Tym Day is right around the corner! June 12th; mark your calendars. And who doesn't love Dress Up Wednesdays?) So, in true Tym fashion, I publicly "announced" my intentions on May 18, 2012 - exactly one year before our big day - and even made up a hashtag: #OperationCampaignTrail. Oh, how self-involved of him.
By now, most of you know my deal about being speaker. You've heard the slogan: "Let the Bottom of the Barrel Speak for the Cream of the Crop!" You've probably seen the logo (I really dropped the ball on the bumper stickers and T-Shirts, but there's still time for those, right?) and you have probably laughed, rolled your eyes, thought I was ridiculous for wanting this so badly. I honestly don't blame you.
Those who know me know I make overblown statements and could benefit from a muzzle to keep my unfiltered thoughts from pouring out. They know I can come off as a pompous, narcissistic ass who loves the sound of his own voice. Maybe I am and maybe I do. But being speaker isn't about me. If it was, this personal statement would be one question: "How cool would it be for you to be the only law school graduate in the history of forever to have a guy with six fingers (twelve total) be your commencement speaker?!" Boom! End of story. Win commencement speaker in a landslide. However, being speaker, for me, is about celebrating you all!
May 18th is OUR finish line; it's our freedom from long days in the lawbrary and study rooms, from making the decision between going skiing or our Thursday morning class, from feeling like we're in adult high school with all the 'did you hear about ...'s and 'guess what happened to ... 's. It's our celebration for surviving three years of hell and highlighters, and I want to be the guy to help you all rejoice. I don't want to be some nose-in-the-air speaker going on about what makes me so wonderful or "that guy" making obscure inside jokes for the sole enjoyment of my close friends. I want to celebrate you all.
Just for funzies, I did the math: From the first day of law school to graduation, the majority of us (sorry 4Ls; you've endured even longer) have spent 1,007 days losing our minds in constant competition with one another for class rank, jobs, free Chipotle. A thousand-plus days of busting our tails for the freedom of ... Crippling debt and the bar exam. Yay!
The point is, most of you have heard me go on and on for a year about wanting this honor. I don't want it for the spotlight. I don't want it for my own personal ego boost or a line on my résumé - whatever that is. I definitely don't want it so we can show that DU has diversity (although, the mystery remains why my beautiful face is absent from the law school website.) I want to make you all laugh. I want us to have a good time at graduation. At the very least, I want you all to be able to tell your grandchildren decades from now, "When I graduated law school, we had this guy with six fingers - twelve in total - who gave the greatest, most inspirational speech I ever heard, and it alone is the reason I became a Supreme Court Justice."
Maybe it is all about me ... But hey, think of your vote as a thank you to me for helping make the curve a little more favorable for you! Somebody had to be the anchor, and by golly, I wasn't going to let it to be you. That's altruism, kids! Also, how many people do we really need at graduation telling us how wonderful it is to be a lawyer? Let me be that five minutes (or less) during the ceremony where it's ENCOURAGED that you make fun of the person on the stage. I want to be that for YOU!
I am honored to be nominated. It would be my pleasure to serve as the student speaker at our graduation.
Thank you to my classmates for nominating me to be class speaker. I am honored, if not a little surprised, that anyone even thought of me: that married dad who lives in Colorado Springs, somewhere in the vast "bottom 90%" of the class. Honestly, it's super cool just to be nominated, even if all it takes is a classmate or two sending in a nomination email.
If y'all want to pick me, I will happily talk at graduation and do my best to do the following things:
-- Make you laugh at least a few times
-- Make your parents, friends, and family understand how much work you've put into law school
-- Make your parents, friends, and family proud of your accomplishment
-- Make sure everyone knows that this class is full of great people
That's it. Keep it simple. And don't worry, I can pull off the speech without choking-- I've spoken in front a big crowds before. I invite anyone from the class of 2013 to drop me an email if you have a question, a suggestion for the speech, or just a really solid opening joke.
I am honored to be nominated to speak on behalf of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Class of 2013. Whether I am chosen to speak or not, one thing is for sure: I am so very proud, excited, and humbled to be a new DU Law grad!
Let me tell you a little about myself, and if you would like to hear from me, then VOTE for me!
First, you must know, I LOVE THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER. I completed two years of undergraduate studies at DU, lived in the "J-Mac" dorms, have a masters degree from DU and now my J.D. (Earned the masters and J.D. while raising my two sweet daughters, now ages 4 and 5, and couldn't have done so without the devoted help from my husband).
I am the first lawyer in my family.
I am a social work/ public interest "type" and am going to spend my legal career striving to help others who are less fortunate.
I believe that everyone should strive to achieve their own highest "impossibilities" and goals.
Thank you. Sarah Hill
Most of you know me, even without having any clue as to my name. I'm "that pink-haired law student" to many, but I'm also Cassandra Kirsch.
I'm not going to ramble on about how my achievements necessitate that I speak on your behalf. Just like you, my GPA and my resume do not dictate who I am. More importantly, we have somehow managed to survive law school, and we're lucky if we aren't jaded and have managed to keep our sight set on our initial goals and aspirations. While I consider reflecting on the past with hilarious anecdotes a novel and fun idea, I feel it is more important to look ahead post-survival of law school and on how we will preserve our individuality and ourselves as we navigate the legal profession. Otherwise, in the words of the late and great Professor Ann Scales, how are we going to "raise some Hell"?
Admittedly, there are definitely some tough contenders on the list of nominees for student speaker this year and I realize my chances are slim. However, I am honored to be nominated and ask you to please consider letting me represent our graduating class on our big day.
I remember the day I bought my first "E&E." I also remember the day I purchased numerous packages of "Law in a Flash." Then there was the time I spent an ungodly amount of money on a variety of "Emanuel's Law Outlines." As if I did not have enough, I also procured some "Legal Lines" and "Gilbert Law Summaries" to add to my arsenal.
I was a supplement addict. And, I was not the only one out there.
I believed the more commercial outlines I obtained, the better I would perform on my final exams. As many of us supplement addicts soon realized, these expensive paperbacks could not replace the in-classroom instruction and IRAC case briefing that is essential to learning the law. Over the past three years, we have learned to organize, sift, and apply information. We know how to spot the issue and we can analyze until we are blue in the face. We have acquired the necessary tools to practice law.
Although I have since curbed my addiction to commercial supplements, these overpriced handbooks of bullet points have taught me some fundamental skills. If elected, I would utilize these skills as the May 2013 commencement speaker.
I would keep the speech brief while hitting the essential points. I would not add any extra fluff. I would deliver an organized message. I would appeal to a wide range of learning styles. I would enumerate the highlights of the past three years and summarize the most vital take-aways. Lastly, I would not cost $50.00 only to collect dust next to The Hunger Games series on your bookshelf.
It would be an honor to serve as the May 2013 commencement speaker.
I would really appreciate your support to be this year's student commencement speaker. My high-energy and positive nature combined with my extensive involvement within the law school would make me well "suited" for the position (As a bonus, I am also moderately funny. In fact, I am coincidently the perfect amount of funny for a graduation speech!).
Throughout the past three years, despite the stress and intensity, I have loved every minute of law school and I think it shows through my involvement within the school. From day one, I have genuinely tried to get to know most, if not all of our class, and have made lasting friendships that I would never trade for anything ... well maybe for a job or debt forgiveness (just kidding!). I have been extremely involved to the extent that people often go to me with questions about things around the school. If you had an obscure question about who to contact at school with an administrative problem, you could count on me. If you had questions about school funding, you could count on me. If you needed an MPRE book, had a citation question, were looking for another student, or even if you just needed an undergrad kicked out of your study room, you could always count on me to happily lend a hand. I have really enjoyed helping everyone out and would love to be commencement speaker so I could express how truly thankful I am to be graduating with such an amazing group of people and for the great experiences here at DU.
I know everyone would enjoy it if I launched a red velvet cake ball campaign to win your votes, but let's be honest, this isn't a food network competition or even a best lobbyist competition. You are choosing someone who you think is most reflective of our law school experience. So all I will do is promise that if you were to choose me as your commencement speaker, my speech would be Phamtastic - positive, funny, short, and EPIC-ly worthy of your vote. You will laugh, you will be struck with inspiration and a positive outlook for the future, and you might even shed tears of joyous wonder. It would be a pretty magical speech. I also swear I will talk slow!
So follow your heart and make the right decision for you ( ... Seriously though, follow your heart and pick me).
Dan St. John
Never have I gone through a greater transition than the experience I had in law school. I imagine that I am not alone in saying that I came to law school not truly understanding the awesome undertaking I was about to embark upon. As school progressed, the pre-law person version of me was slowly transformed into the lawyer that I will soon be. But law school is much more than a means to an end - it is a journey to a new understanding.
The failures, the stress, the hair pulling frustration, and-to make it personal-the ski pass I used once this year, we've suffered during this transition have been worth it because of what we will be able to accomplish and what we've learned about ourselves. Sure, a law degree is a powerful tool. But more than that, the experiences we've had that are the greatest treasures from this transition. Whether it is learning to turn the greatest failure you've had into a launch pad to your true calling. Whether it is finding the love of your life. Whether it is gaining that confidence you now have. Whether it is the relationships we've built together that will last a lifetime (at least that's my plan-sorry friends). Whatever the reason we came to DU and whatever experiences we have had, undoubtedly, we all have learned something valuable about ourselves. And isn't that one reason we undertake new journeys?
Ultimately, I would love to be your graduation speaker. Building off the themes above, I will weave together my thoughts on the meaning of a lawyer's life, my tips for always looking on the bright side, and the importance of pursing a professional grail. Naturally, I will inject some humor into this. If you're particularly unlucky, I may sing. However, it will be a pleasant balance given the gravity of our graduation.
-Dan St. John