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Alyssa Gaeta stands at the podium
Photo by Damian Strohmeyer

Good morning families, friends, faculty, staff, notable guests, trustees, President Chrite and, most of all, the undergraduate class of 2023. I’m honored to be standing here in front of all of you representing the 2023 graduates as the senior class president. 

During my junior year of high school, I spent every waking moment working toward the goal of being valedictorian. I focused on the anxiety of accomplishment and it prevented me from enjoying my life in the moment. I sacrificed spending time with friends, making memories with my family and truly enjoying practicing with my sports teams. I was so fixated on being valedictorian that I neglected building relationships and making memories that would last a lifetime. When it was announced that I was going to be valedictorian, I felt fulfilled for about 45 seconds. But, then came the 46th second. I felt nothing. The happiness began to fade.  

I realized in those seconds that there were lessons to learn that could apply to my time at Bentley. I knew it would be important to develop deep, sustainable relationships, find balance in every aspect of my life and live in the present. The difference between then and now is that I am learning this lesson, and I have made an effort to spend time creating balance in my life.  

I ask you all to look to your left and to your right. Do you know the people sitting near you? Look around you and in the bleachers. Are there people you see that you want to stay connected with in your post-graduation life? I promised myself when I joined Bentley’s community that I would not just focus on the quantity of people I would meet to build my network, but I would develop the quality of each relationship.  

How should we evaluate the quality of our relationships? Are these the people that we can turn to when we need something or can picture as members of our wedding parties? While it is ingrained in us to build our LinkedIn network and meet as many people as possible, it’s also important to invest time with people we enjoy. Life is short. Be with people who make us feel good about ourselves and reciprocate our investment.    

Headshot of Alyssa Gaeta wearing a white blouse and black blazer
Give your all to the moment that you are living in, because that will create happiness and memories that will last forever. 
Alyssa Gaeta ’23

Bentley has taught me the importance of striking a balance in life, and that lesson is something that I want to implement moving forward. There needs to be a balance between work and play. Ask yourself: Where should you invest your time? Do you solely focus on work, so much that you can’t enjoy any leisure time? Do you spend so much social time with people that you lose sight of your work goals?

While many of us probably struggled with this balance over the past few years, I am continuing to learn that it’s important to find balance, and to do so, it is important to live in the present. The present is all that we have. The present is all that we are guaranteed. We can no longer affect the past nor can we control or worry about the future.   

While focusing on the present is definitely a struggle for me, and probably for most of us, it is all a learning process. Seizing the moment and making the most of what we are doing is essential. Give your all to the moment that you are living in, because that will create happiness and memories that will last forever.  

As we look to embark on the next phase of our journey, we are leaving here with knowledge and a variety of accomplishments. We can all confidently walk away from Bentley equipped to succeed in business. But we are also equipped to take on much more that life has in store for us. Over the past few years, we have all started to learn how to lead a life of sustainable joy. We have all had to make decisions about what our future may look like. Now is the time to apply that learning.  

To quote Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and founder and CEO of Thrive Global: “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”  

My wish for all of us is that we succeed, that we live a life of sustainable joy and that we recognize that the quality of our life can be measured by the balance that we bring to it.  

My final request before we graduate today is that we take the time to speak with those who surround us, and remain connected with those who mean the most to us at Bentley.  

Thank you. And once again, congratulations to the Class of 2023! I am so proud of all of us and what we have accomplished!

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