Students Share Advice, Inspiration, and Encouragement with Fellow Graduates
As part of the University of New Haven’s morning Spring Commencement ceremony, Angelo Prevosto ’21 and Jeanny Francois ’17, ’21 MHA discussed the lessons they have learned, including the importance of resilience and of overcoming regret.
May 19, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Angelo Prevosto ’21 spoke to his fellow graduates at Spring Commencement, he was reminded of when he first began his time as a Charger. In particular, he reflected on attending SOAR as a new student. He knew he’d found his home for the next four years.
“I think the first realization that college was going to be a turning point for me was at my own orientation,” said Prevosto, who enjoyed the SOAR experience so much that he went on to become an Orientation Leader for the next three summers. “Going through orientation with a lot of you here in this room was the start of a really transformative journey for me, as I’m sure it was for many of you.”
Among the nearly 40 undergraduate and graduate students who applied to be one of the student Commencement speakers, Prevosto was among the sixteen finalists who were selected to do a live audition via Zoom. Four students were chosen to speak – one undergraduate and one graduate student – at each ceremony.
In sharing remarks on behalf of the graduate student body, Jeanny Francois ’17, ’21 MHA reflected on her previous graduation ceremonies – memories that, she said, left her feeling empty because of her regrets. She said that at her earlier graduations, including one in 2017 as a Charger, she was thinking about how she wished she had achieved more, and her regret overshadowed any jubilation she might have felt at the ceremonies.
“Among the very many lessons I’ve been able to learn is that life is too short to be messing with regret,” she said. “Regret is like a thief in the night. You never see it coming, but when it pays you a visit, your interaction with it can be blinding. My message for you today is simple: Do not get blindsided by regret.”
'We are adaptable and ready for anything'
Tired of living with regret, Francois told her classmates she was determined to no longer live in its shadow and to not let it dampen this Commencement. She let it motivate her to persist, to advocate for herself, and to work harder – until any regret dissipated. She urged her fellow graduates to persevere and to not let anything hold them back from enjoying their special day and the future before them.
“On some scale we have all encountered regret at some point in our lives,” she said. “However it looks for you, I am here to remind you to keep going. Let that experience teach you, not define you. Guide you, not restrict you. Empower you, not hold you back.”
Prevosto, too, shared with the Class of 2021 an important lesson he has learned. Acknowledging the challenges that he and his fellow Chargers faced throughout the pandemic, he encouraged them to pursue their passions and to “take all the experiences and skills we learned here, and just run.”
“As Chargers, we are taught to be resilient,” he continued. “We are taught to keep moving even when it gets tough. That’s exactly what we all have done, particularly for the past 15 months. We showed the world, but most importantly ourselves, that we are adaptable and ready for anything.”