Commencement Speaker Inspires Audience to Embrace Change

Miguel Martinez-Sierra and the RN to BSN clinicOn May 29, 2011, Miguel Martinez-Sierra gave an eloquent commencement speech for the graduates of the Adult Degree Program:

Good morning faculty, fellow graduates, families and friends who graciously accompany us today, which marks a very important milestone in our lives. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you all the members of the graduating class for the 2011 adult degree program who will be receiving baccalaureate degrees in the following different programs of study: Accounting, Management, International Business, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Business Information Systems, and Nursing for Registered Nurses.

Today I would like to talk to you about change. Change, according to the dictionary, is to make or become different. As we look back to the day when we started our programs until now when we will be receiving our respective degrees, do you not see a sort of metamorphosis that has taken place within us? Do you not feel different?

I have some news…we have changed, we are not the same and we can thank knowledge for such transformation…we look within and recognize the unique masterpiece created in our souls…I reckon this is the reason why universities do not have material boundaries as some philosophers say…for the creating force that flows through them cannot be contained within any walls.

Change is not always easy and often comes with its own share of stress, pain and instability. But when we see the marvels it works in us, instead of shunning it away we make it our quest to possess it and with it, its ever changing force.

For many of the adult degree graduates the process of getting our baccalaureate degrees took more than four years to complete…In fact many of us have been working at them our whole lives while successfully juggling other responsibilities such as family, work and school. It does not matter how long we have waited, we will continue to bring our newfound love for knowledge to all we meet hoping to be for them a source of inspiration.

When I think of Linfield I think of a greenhouse where we all have been forced to grow in a short amount of time…today we are called forth to bear fruit, and we will, for “we have been tried and have not been found wanting…” WE ARE READY!

Thank you.

Miguel Martinez-Sierra, RN, BSN
Commencement Speaker, Class of 2011
Linfield College


Miguel Martinez-Sierra


Miguel currently works as an Intensive/Critical Care Nurse for PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver.  Miguel earned an Associate degree in Nursing from Clark College, and chose to enter Linfield’s Adult Degree Program in the RN to BSN program because he believed that Linfield would provide him with the highest quality of education where care is shown for individual students.  Miguel is thankful for the support of his family and friends and faculty as he finished his degree through Linfield. Miguel has been accepted to the Master of Nursing program at Washington State University where he plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Expectations of an Adult Degree Program

steven facker, adult degree graduateWe interviewed Steven Facker, Class Speaker at Linfield College’s Spring Commencement, about his expectations as he began a Management Degree through Linfield’s Adult Degree Program. Below, Steven shares his reflections on his expectations before he completed the program and now after graduating this Spring.

What were your expectations when you decided to complete your Management degree at Linfield?

I expected to be challenged with classes on subjects that I had very little exposure to, like management itself, financial stuff, statistics, and the topics like that.  My business acumen was relatively low before attending Linfield.  I also expected to have quite a bit of homework.

Were these expectations met? If so, how were they met?  If not, what was different from what you thought it would be?

Yes, my challenging expectations were definitely met.  I found myself spending many hours reading and re-reading textbooks, doing additional research, and asking questions.  As for homework…wow.  I knew I would have homework, but it sure seemed to be many hours of homework just about every week.  There were a handful of classes that didn’t have a metric ton of homework.  Those classes were definitely in the minority.

steven facker adult degree studentHave you changed in any way as a result of your experience of completing your degree at Linfield?

Organizing time comes much easier now.  I’ve learned to appreciate the bits of time here and there doing things fun, intertwined with the less desirable things, like work and cleaning.  =)

I also feel like I can contribute more intelligently to conversations with friends, and especially colleagues at work.  Knowing that I can complete a relatively long-term goal, like this degree, helps me to realize that perhaps I can do that with other tough goals.  The opportunity to publicly speak at the commencement, and following through with that opportunity, has contributed to my overall confidence level.

I don’t necessarily feel like having the degree will automatically open doors, of course.  I look at my degree as an additional tool that can help me, when/if I so choose.  Additionally, I’ve learned to critically assess and think through my decisions with more depth for the long term.  For example, when I’m researching an employee’s benefit issue at work, I don’t look just at the surface issues.  I also examine the reasoning behind it and advocate to my superiors for the employee, so that he/she can get his/her issue resolved with less stress and more satisfaction.

Overall, I feel grateful, not as much for the knowledge, but for the application of critical thinking towards life in general.  Yes, I still go with the flow, at times.  But now I also challenge the flow and strive towards more efficiency and enjoyment at home and work.