Voices: Class of 2021 graduates prepared to lead and inspire

On Saturday, May 8, UW–Madison celebrated its Spring 2021 Commencement. We are tremendously proud of all our students — nearly 600 of them — graduating from School of Education programs.

We reached out to a few of our graduating students from bachelor’s to PhDs to learn more about their favorite memories, advice for incoming students, and more. Here are a few highlights:

PhD, Educational Psychology

Advice for incoming students — “Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint. You will receive many opportunities, but you cannot say yes to everything. Establish boundaries and prioritize the experiences that advance your knowledge and training. Connect with your fellow graduate students; they are invaluable resources.”

Marcus Weathers Jr.MARCUS WEATHERS JR.
MS, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

Advice for incoming students — “You have earned the privilege of accepting admittance into one of the best universities, so immerse yourself in the culture. Find yourself a great group of people to experience the journey with, and reach out to your professors and advisers in times of need, or just because.”

BS, Dance

Most meaningful experience at UW–Madison — “Lathrop Hall (in the Dance Department) is full of some of the most welcoming, motivating, and creative people who have deeply defined my personal growth and UW experience.”

BS, Health Promotion and Health Equity

Future plans — “UW–Madison has brought me closer to my passion for health equity, allowing me to defy the impossible, and encouraging me to embrace the value and validity of my voice.”

BS, Education Studies and History

Most meaningful experience at UW– Madison — “The most meaningful lesson I learned at UW–Madison is the value of multiculturalism. Growing up in a homogenous society (in Beijing, China), I have long ignored the role of culture and identity in my daily life, but my experience at UW–Madison presented me with another possibility. In a multicultural environment, my culture suddenly becomes the ‘stamp’ of who I am. The situation provides me with a precious opportunity to reconsider the value and meaning of culture to me. By interacting with students of different cultural backgrounds, I have gradually discovered the uniqueness and value of myself and my culture. All elements of my environment while growing up are an integral part of my cultural identity. My culture enables me to be the ‘special’ one in the crowds and share my unique stories. My culture is also the shelter where I can seek support and recognition when lost in the swirl of an identity cri- sis. This experience leads me to be more tolerant and respectful, because I know others love their cultures the same as I do my culture. The value of studying in a multicultural campus like UW–Madison is best manifested here. The harmonious co-existence of different cultures teaches me to value both myself and others.”