Katie Pedro MFA '17:
President, Graduate Student Senate

Katie PedroI’m thrilled to get to stand in front of you today. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. I have to tell you that I have spent the last 2 or 3 weeks getting advice from a thousand people, all these different opinions and experiences, and it’s become overwhelming. It almost makes everything seem more daunting.

So rather than give this incredibly diverse group of graduates some seemingly profound advice, I want to take this opportunity just to talk about us. What we’ve made here and what we have now.

This is a tribute to the community we have created here.

This little patch of Earth is now my home. Other places have faded into the background. My apartment is a place I sleep (sometimes). My parents’ house is a memory. But when I trudge to the PAC every single day, at the strangest hours of the morning and night, I am coming home. And while your home may be Slonim or Wrexham, some building that I have never even been to, I know this too has been your home for the past two years, and that we have shared the same hallowed ground. So I think we’re tied to each other now.

When I decided to come here, I had all these expectations of what I would learn, who I would meet, skills I would acquire, jobs that I’d be ready for. I bet you did, too. I had made lists and plans, I expected to cross off my fulfilled expectations like a giant to do list.

Somehow I barely remember any of those things now. I think I remember that I wanted to change, I wanted to grow, and I wanted to experience things I had never experienced before.

What was I looking for? I have no idea. But I can tell you what I found. I found us.

Katie PedroSo, this is a tribute to the community we have created here.

It’s a thank you, for every time a Human Genetics student has taught me something new about theatre.

Every time a writer has shared their work and inspired me to write a play a different way.

Every time a dance grad has challenged what I thought I knew about performance.

Every time a women’s history student reminded me why I decided to make art in the first place.

Every single one of you, by being incredibly different from me and studying beside me, has helped me change, grow, and experience things I had never experienced before.

I know that everything I have learned here, I have learned from all of you.

Every time anyone of you surprised me, taught me something, shared yourself with me, I was reminded why I came to this place. Why this was the only grad program I applied to, and why the past two years have made me a collaborator through and through.

It’s a tribute to coming to this hallowed ground and finding my soulmates. This is what I have learned here: We need each other. I need you. This is a tribute to needing each other.

Lastly, it’s a challenge not to forget the community we have created here. In moments of transition, we often feel so alone. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: we spent the last two years here, so we do not have to feel alone. We have the community we made, everything we’ve taught each other, and everything we still have to learn together.

Thank you for the last two years. Thank you to my soulmates. And now, onward—together.