2019 Remarks by Student Speaker

Remarks by Student Speaker Daniella Iannuzzi ’19 
2019 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Friday, May 10, 2019
McGuirk Alumni Stadium, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Here we are. Graduating seniors.

Seems like just yesterday we were nervous freshman, frantically moving into our dorm rooms and trying not to cry saying goodbye to friends and family.

The unknown was ahead of us: Will I stick with my major? What friends will I meet? How will I find my classes on this huge campus?

As these four years went by, the major that you worried about became your passion, that huge campus became your home, and those friends became your family. 

The unknown allowed us to find ourselves: who we were, who we are, and who we want to be.

But what led us to today? This very moment, all together as a class, each receiving a piece of paper that represents a huge accomplishment.

Well, behind each accomplishment in life are big moments that lead to success. When reflecting back on our college experience, many will remember the “Big First Day” of school, the “Big Exam” you had to take, the “Big Party” that you went to.

But, right now I want to remind you about the little moments throughout these four years that made our experience at UMass Amherst so special. 

Remember the moment when it all started? When you made that final decision to come to UMass Amherst? Or the feeling you got when you passed an exam you thought you failed? Your excitement when you found out they were serving your favorite meal at Late Night. When you finally made it through the infamous wind tunnel by the library. When you saw Sam the Minuteman — anywhere at all.

Hearing the sound of the hundreds of geese when walking by the campus pond. When Cardi B and Bernie Sanders came to campus. Looking at your UCard picture and seeing how much you’ve changed. Sitting on the couch hanging out with your roommates after a long day. The first time you tasted Antonio's.

Anytime you saw a dog on campus. Meeting together as an entire class to take the UMass formation picture the first week of freshmen year. Finding an open seat in the library during finals week. Making a connection with a professor in a huge class lecture. Seeing your friend on your walk to class on a 30,000 person campus. Catching the bus right as it pulls up.

Waking up to the UMass Marching Band parading through campus on game day. When you made a new friend in the bathroom at the bars - girls you know what I mean. Having extra dining dollars to spend. When eduroam was actually working. When your friends did something really special for your birthday.

Celebrating with the whole school when the Patriots won the Superbowl, the Red Sox won the World Series, and don’t forget about this year’s UMass Hockey season. Each of these moments were little, but in reality, were big parts of our college experience and made up a huge part of what made this school so special to each of us.  

Now flash forward to today. A really big moment for all of us: Graduation Day. Don’t look past the little moments throughout today. The moment you walked into the stadium with your entire class. The drive that your family took to get here to support you. The moment your loved one shed a tear realizing how proud they are of you. Hugging your friends after throwing your cap in the air. The smile you had on your face. The excited and nervous feeling you had throughout the entire commencement. The love that surrounds you. These are the moments that really make today special.  

So, Class of 2019, look around you and take in this moment. As we celebrate the end of our undergraduate experience, remember that our time is not up -- we have so many more moments throughout our lives to experience: both big and small. So, what I have to say to you all is this: With every experience and journey throughout your life, remember to appreciate the little moments, because one day, you will look back and realize they were the big moments.

Congratulations, Class of 2019! We did it!