Every summer, I look forward to seeing what sprouts from my vegetable garden. Like anything, it has its share of rewards, disappointments, and surprises. Not to mention more weeding than I can ever keep up with. Several years ago, I gloated over a bumper crop of green chile peppers, thinking I’d reap such bountiful harvests for years to come. Not so. A year or two later, the green chiles were dismal, few and far between. And last summer, an apparently mislabeled package of bush green beans turned out to be pole beans, and I scrambled with stakes and string to help them with their vertical ascent. No matter how they grew, they still tasted great.
My challenges with gardening come to mind as I think about how Syracuse University students make their way through their college years. It is a time of fun and hard work, failure and success, and the discovery of new knowledge, interests, and ways to pursue a meaningful life. As our celebratory photos in this issue attest, Commencement is a proud and wondrous moment for graduates. Just look at those smiles. They have had experiences here they will never forget and have forged friendships that will last a lifetime. Whether it was a class that caught their attention, a professor who sparked their intellect in a previously unexplored discipline, a classmate who encouraged them to join an organization, or an event that launched them in a new career direction, these students, more often than not, enjoyed an exceptional journey. Combing through this issue, you’ll see several examples of students hitting their stride, from Anthony DiMare ’14 creating a portable catamaran that he envisions transforming the sailing community to cancer survivor Katherine Frega ’16 involving herself in the local community and working toward her goal of becoming a doctor.
Now, as members of the Class of 2018 prepare to begin their first semester on the Hill, I wonder how they will take to their time here. Great scholars, student-athletes, activists, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs will sprout up among them—and it’s only a matter of time before they emerge, showing us how they have found the right road to travel. Naturally, we are a restless lot. But the beauty of college for students is the opportunity to expand personal horizons, take on new challenges, explore a variety of interests, and focus on what captivates them most. There will be days filled with ups and downs, but the rewards of the journey will be well worth it.