December 15, 2022

Student graduation speaker: ‘Use your failures’

It’s the failures that shaped Olivia Williams’ experience in Hinds Community College’s Associate Degree Nursing program.
BY: Cathy Hayden
Photography: Brad Smith

Above: Olivia Williams of Hurricane, Utah, was the student speaker for the 10 am. Dec. 15 graduation.

Williams, the student speaker for the 10 a.m. Dec. 15 ceremony, said while she found those failures humbling, they were also an opportunity for positive growth.

Olivia Williams, who received her Associate Degree in Nursing, asked classmates to reflect on their experience in the rigorous health programs and what they were most proud of. Some of those reflections were about failures and what they learned from them.

“I hope we can walk away from today with confidence, not just in our victories but in our failures as well. The not-so-shiny stuff. The things we would never put on plaques or hang on our walls. Things like tests we bombed, the unintelligent answers we shared in class, or the damage we’ve accumulated from caffeine/sweets or other vices to comfort our sorrows from school,” said Williams, a native of Hurricane, Utah.

“While today may be a beautiful milestone for each of us and a celebration of all that has gone right, I hope that we can also take the time to celebrate all that went wrong that brought us to this point,” she said. “Today is not a stagnant time, the celebration will end and tomorrow will come. Requiring us to do things that are challenging, awkward and frustrating — allowing us to use the failures we have experienced here to help us face those opportunities with confidence and endurance.”

She has accepted a position at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Neuro ICU and in January will also begin UMC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

More than 850 students graduated from Hinds Community College in one of two ceremonies Dec. 15 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

Jacobus Roby, a Raymond resident who has been enrolled in the Utica Campus Radio, Television Production and Broadcasting program offered the invocation at both ceremonies.

Hinds awarded nearly 1,300 credentials as many students will earn more than one credential.

Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik congratulated graduates on their accomplishments. “You’ve made it through late night study sessions, beyond early morning commutes, and past all the personal barriers that stood in your way,” he said. “You sit here today ready to move forward on your life’s journey, a journey that will be full of adventures, challenges, victories and probably even a few failures.”

In total, 123 students graduated cum laude with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59; 73 graduated magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.99 and 11 graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0.

Taia Gaskin of Clinton, spoke at the 2 p.m. ceremony on behalf of her classmates. She was a student on the Rankin Campus studying entrepreneurship. She is unsure about her specific career but does plan on creating her own path in life.