BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

I graduate for you

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MAY 13, 2022

Berkeley, you have taught me so much. I know how to navigate public transportation

because of your tough love (I’ve missed trains, boarded too many wrong buses and said more goodbyes or hellos at your stations than I can count). I know what true friendship is after meeting some kids in the rooms of Griffith Hall. I know I cannot change others’ actions, but I have the capacity to control my own. I know that I still have a lot to unlearn, but I am grateful for the truths you have shared with me over the past four years. I know how to love across an entire bay. And I know who I am and who I want to be. I graduate for you, Berkeley. Thank you for nurturing the person I am today. 

Dad, I graduate for you. I am grateful for your support and your encouraging words. In your own ways, you made me feel like you thought I was the smartest person you knew. Though much has been left unsaid, I know you would be proud of me. 

Mom, I graduate for you. The books you read along with me for my book reports, the math homework you stayed up late to teach me, the essays you proofread, the science projects you created with me at home, the Barnes & Noble aisles you followed me along in as I grabbed book after book, the hugs you gave me at my highest and lowest, the advice you gave me when I cared to listen and even when I didn’t. I would not be the person I am today without you. I find my success because of the lessons you taught me. I hope I have made you proud. 

Friends (and you know who you are), I graduate for you. I did not know what it meant to sing songs at the top of my lungs at 2 a.m. when only I could hear them without you. I did not know what it meant to get Little Gem in the middle of the night without you. I did not know what it meant to share a pint of ice cream after a soul-crushing midterm without you. I did not know what it meant to wander campus without you. I did not know what it meant to be supported through some of the most difficult moments without you. I did not know what it meant to find family through friends without you. I hope we are friends for life. 

Julie, I graduate for you. You have learned some tough lessons. You have gone through nearly 22 years of life, death and sometimes some place between the two. You have been my worst critic, my biggest supporter and my loudest competitor. Thank you for making hard decisions that have, in the end, led me here. I am proud of you for facing down your flaws and choosing to not let them win. I am proud of your growth and the things you have chosen to do and believe in. The student in me can now rest for a moment and enjoy the view from the mountain top. You have helped me do it. You have pushed me to the finish line, and I graduate for you most of all. 

Contact Julie Madsen at 

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MAY 13, 2022