Student Spotlight

2019 Brandman University Bangor-Bremerton Commencement

May 07, 2019 by Victoria Lim

Graduates from Brandman University’s Bangor and Bremerton campuses celebrated their commencement at the Naval Under the Sea Museum on May 3. Among them was student speaker Joseph Reck, who graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in sociology. Here are Reck’s remarks:

Active duty sailor and Brandman University class of 2019 Joseph Reck delivered the student address.                 

Good Morning, I am Joseph Reck, and I am an active duty sailor in the United States Navy. I will shortly retire from active duty status, and thanks to the people here at Brandman University, I will enter into my civilian life as a college graduate.

As a student in my early life, I was not very motivated, and not focused. The Navy changed that. People like Kevin Proulx, an alumnus from Brandman, encouraged me to tackle the mission of higher education. The Navy gave me the means, Brandman provided me the opportunity.

College can be a challenge at any age. Being an adult student has benefits, but it also comes with some difficult challenges. As an adult student, one already has a full schedule. For myself, as an active duty sailor, I work well over 40 hours a week. To include deployments, travel and underway on submarines. In addition, I am a husband and a father. So, I must balance that time.

Life is about balance. Whether it is a balanced diet, exercise, study habits, playtime, family time, or personal time. That need for balance is what drew me to Brandman University. Brandman excels in balance. The class schedules, the workload, and the class offerings provided the flexibility I needed, to maintain balance in all aspects of my life, and at the same time put me in an environment that gave me the chance to excel.

Joseph Reck diplomaBut successfully navigating through college is a team effort. Fortunately, for me, I have a strong team on my side. My command, Unmanned Undersea Squadron One, has supported my education from the moment I came aboard. Without that support I could not have attended college. My extended family has offered support as well --my mother, Jolene Sylva, who always takes an interest in my own interests, and taught me the value of asking questions. My mother in-law, Carol Robinson, who from day one supported my college career. Carol always asked me questions about what class I was taking, and what was I learning. Carol has always been in my corner.

My college mentor, Dr. (Lata) Murti. I was able to take three classes under Dr. Murti, and from the very first class I was drawn into her teaching style. It was in her classes that I knew I had made the correct choice to study sociology. Dr. Murti pushed me with hard questions, no matter how much I thought I had fully answered the topic, always another question. Thank you for that.

Lastly, to my wife, Nicole, who put up with long hours of me studying and writing. The never- ending conversations about which demographic group a cheeseburger was being marketed to, or how a commercial was attempting to capitalize on a given stereotype. Thank you, Nicole.

To those who are just finishing school, congratulations! To those that are still working on it, keep going. You can do it. To those who are not sure if college is for you, I would encourage you to give it a shot. If you think you don’t have time, I say, you do! Find something that interests you. Sign up for one class, just one class. Give up one TV show a night. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” If you don’t know where to begin, try with a Brandman academic advisor, they always gave me sound advice.

Thank you.

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