Ryan Calderaro ('22) addressed prospective students at Accepted Student Weekend on Saturday, April 3 with the speech, below:
When I first came to college, I wasn’t the most excited. I enjoyed high school and frankly, I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to give up being a senior, being at the top of it all, everybody knowing my name. I was comfortable, and the idea of going to college was anything but. Honestly, I think the biggest reason I didn’t want to leave was because I was fearful. I was fearful of the workload, I was afraid of the starting over, and I was fearful of the unknown.
But you see, the thing about fear is, that it often prevents us from attaining the greatness that we are meant to find. Shying away from opportunities due to our fears and our insecurities is akin to being presented with an open door and choosing to slam it shut just because we might trip on our way inside. And as someone who has tripped over himself plenty of times, walked into his fair share of door frames, and even waltzed into a glass door once or twice, I can say with confidence that I would much rather trip on my way through that door of opportunity than stand still forever and let the sands of time and the acid of regret eat away my life.
Looking back now, I can say with a significant degree of certainty that I am so glad I was not stuck in high school. If 18 year old me had his way, I might’ve been there forever, and I never would’ve gotten to experience everything that I have here.
And speaking of experiencing things here, I’m up here today because I’m a student ambassador. And you know it’s funny for me being a student ambassador sometimes because I can never remember some of the facts about this place; the years things were built, the number of majors we have, the amount of parking spots on campus. But oddly enough, that’s never stopped me from giving a good tour, because those things aren’t what give this place meaning to me.
I don’t know the square footage of our basketball gym, but I know what it’s like to come here on a Wednesday night and play a pickup game with my friends. I don’t remember what year grace hall was built, but I know what year I gave a Cabrini day keynote speech in it. And I don’t know how many students East residence hall holds, but I know that room 4C1 holds a hell of a lot of good freshman year memories.
I’ve never cared about the numbers, or the graphs, or all the information that they put on a brochure that you bring home in a neat little folder. Because that’s not what Cabrini is to me. Cabrini to me is being a dual-sport athlete, playing two sports that I love. It’s being a student ambassador, representing my school in front of all of you. It’s my amazing friends and all of the teammates, coaches, and professors that have supported me along the way, and still, do to this day.
I didn’t choose Cabrini because of what their pamphlets or website said. I chose Cabrini because of how it made me feel – welcome, invited, home.
So if you want to know how to best succeed here- at Cabrini University, in the next years of your life, at college in general — I will tell you the truth very plainly and very clearly, as it’s been said to me, and as I have discovered over these past few years for myself.
Be bold. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to take risks. One day, you are going to walk out of your freshman dorm for the last time. One day, you are going to eat dinner with all your friends in the dining hall for the last time. One day, you are going to sit at graduation and call yourself a senior at Cabrini university for the last time. And when those days come, I want you to be able to look back and be insanely proud of what you’ve done.
There will be so many opportunities that come your way. Take advantage of them all. Don’t let great opportunities slip by because of fear, laziness, or insecurity. Make sure that when you’re finished writing this chapter of your life, you are satisfied with your story.
I’ll leave you not with an opinion, but with a promise.
You are stronger than you believe, smarter than you think, and more capable than you will ever know. So do not be fearful. Be brave. Take advantage of the opportunities set at your feet and watch the world unfold itself before you. In the words of many students before me — ROLL Cavs.
To access our full Accepted Student Weekend, check out our special site including video recaps, here!