Student Government President Taylor Deer addressed new students and their families as part of New Student Convocation on Aug. 30 in the Gordon Field House.
Deer encouraged the freshman class to take advantage of the opportunities RIT offers.
Here is the full text of his speech:
“Starting today, you will be given one of the greatest opportunities you will ever have throughout your life. Starting today, you have the world at your fingertips. The world is yours, because today we are here to welcome you into our RIT family.
“While you are here you will be given every chance and every resource to pursue your dreams and become the person you have always wanted to be.
“For the first time ever, you are the one who is going to be in control of your own destiny.
“At RIT, opportunities will present themselves to you on a daily basis. Ones that will impact you for the rest of your life. There will be so many opportunities that at times it can become overwhelming. But this will only be so, if you know what an opportunity looks like.
“There are some of you out there who don’t know what an opportunity looks like. Some of you wouldn’t know an opportunity if it came up and smacked you right on the head.
“Because some opportunities don’t look like you’d imagine them to. There is not going to be some magical beam of light shining on you with a voice telling you that an opportunity is here.
“In actuality, opportunities disguise themselves as hard work. Opportunities cover themselves with the perception that they are impossible. Some opportunities carry around a big sign around them that says “Don’t worry about this, someone else will take care of it.” And it is because of this that most people let opportunities pass.
“Everyone wants more opportunities—that is not the issue. And the opportunities will always be there,—that’s not the issue.
“You see, your perception of what an opportunity really is, that is the issue. When some people see an opportunity but it looks like work, they let it go, they let someone else handle it. They let the opportunities fly by. Words fill their voice with “eh, whatever,” or “I can’t do that,” or “that’s stupid.” These are the people that will walk around complaining that nothing ever changes for them!
“It’s because even if they do see an opportunity, it will be their choice to let it go because it involves more work that they don’t want to do. It is the people that willingly make the choice to take these opportunities, even though it takes hard work and dedication, that will succeed here at RIT.
“If I want you to hear on element of this speech, it is this: it’s that none of us in this room will force you to take opportunities. No one up here or out there will force you to be the best that you can be. No one will force you to unlock your true potential!
“For some of you this will be. When opportunity comes and knocks on your door, some of you will make the choice to stay put! No one is telling to you to get up out of your chair and answer it anymore!
“Some of you, on the other hand, will bounce up out of that chair and greet that opportunity on the steps before it even has a chance to knock. These are going to be the ones who are successful at this school. It is now your choice whether or not to answer the call once you recognize an opportunity.
“That is why it’s called an opportunity, because you have to make that choice, to seize it before it gets away!
“The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will really start reaping the benefits of college life, and you will begin to see yourself grow from these seized opportunities for the rest of your life.
“So I’m going to leave you with a question that only you can answer.
“Everything has been laid out for you, you now have the power to change the world as we know it. Your dreams and opportunities are out there waiting for you go after them and RIT gives you everything you need to take advantage of these opportunities. Starting now there is no excuse for you not to begin changing your life one opportunity at a time. It’s all on you.
“Now, here is my question to you:
“Are you the person who will leave this building wondering if your dream will ever happen? Or are you the person that leaves this building knowing that you are the one who is going to make the choice take this opportunity for the next five years and make it happen!”