To White and Blue
Jared Sekar, DVM '07
Canterbury Class of 2020 Commencement Address
July 10, 2020
First of all, congratulations to the class of 2020
My name is Jared Sekar and I graduated from Canterbury 13 years ago with the class of 2007 before matriculating to the University of Miami for my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology. After, I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University. Today, I work as a vet in Houston where I treat emergency and critical care cases overnight at a large veterinary clinic. I’m excited to speak with all of you about the journey ahead.
I was a bit blindsided when first asked to be your commencement speaker—I told myself, I guess the MDs and PHDs already declined. But in all seriousness, it was an honor to be considered when I know of the success fellow classmates have achieved. Hopefully I can provide helpful advice from my own experience after graduating high school.
I'm not going to pretend that I have all the answers to what it takes to “make it” in life. I'm still figuring it out just like everyone else. But I'd like highlight a few tenets to success Canterbury instilled in me, which continue to drive me forward in my life and career.
When you get to college you’ll find most of your peers have no idea what a “free period” is. They probably went to high schools that planned every period of the day for them. At Canterbury you have the freedom to use these periods to study, play basketball or frisbee golf, or simply hang out to your friends. Without realizing it, you’ve been practicing the art of resource management which will be critical in college and beyond.
In college, you’ll have a lot of free time and endless distractions and that’s part of what makes it such an amazing experience. You’ll need to manage your time to ensure you’re succeeding in your studies, but I encourage you to embrace the distractions as well. Make time for these distractions just as you make time for your studies. Give your mind a break when it needs it, or you will burn out from the endless studies and projects you have. Find your balance. It won’t be the same for you as your roommate or classmates, so try not to worry about what others are doing. Never lose sight of your goals but have fun along the way.
Sense of Community
At this point, many of you have friends in Canterbury who have been staples in your life for years. I still have a group of friends from high school I talk to almost daily that I've known since pre-school. I've been lucky to attend their weddings, see them start families, and remain in their lives. When I left Canterbury for college, I met so many new people and I cherish those relationship today, but I’m grateful that I’ve maintained the relationships I’ve had since childhood.
You’ll be amazed how fast college years pass by. In 13 years, you’ll look back like I am now and see just how many doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers/professors, and other field experts you graduated Canterbury with. If you continue to nurture the relationships with these people, in a decade you’ll have trusted friends you can go to for advice. These friends, along with your family, make up the best link you have to your past and make a great foundation for your future.
From a young age, Canterbury introduced me to the concept of diversity through its belief in individuality. By offering many different arts and humanities as well as a plethora of extracurricular opportunities, Canterbury encouraged me to walk a path that was uniquely my own. And being a unique, well-rounded individual is exactly what colleges seek from their students. So when you get there, take classes that have nothing to do with your major, join an intramural sport you've never played, and sign up for one of the countless on-campus clubs that spark your interest. Talk to your peers and learn from their experiences. Be eccentric. College is the time to explore yourself.
There is so much more Canterbury taught me that I’m sure you have learned as well; academic excellence, communication skills, empathy and compassion, etc. Just know that every lesson has prepared you well. The diploma you just received is proof you have all the necessary tools to succeed.
Before closing I'd like to remind you to thank your teachers. They’ve spent many long nights creating your curriculum and grading your homework. And if you wreaked as much havoc as I did in high school, they’ve also spent long nights thinking of how best to punish you for the next time you misbehave. Your teachers have lost a lot of sleep so you can succeed.
Lastly thank your parents. They've sacrificed so much of their time and effort to afford you the opportunity to go to Canterbury. Subsequently, they’ve helped open so many doors for you. You cannot imagine how unbelievably proud they are of you and how much satisfaction they have knowing what you accomplished these last four years. Now, would be an excellent time to ask them for money.
I want to thank everyone at Canterbury, with a special thanks to Jessica Sharpe and Ben Ottenweller for this opportunity to speak. I would like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the ranks of Canterbury Alumni.