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Posted by on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in The VU from the Commons.

Ryan Coyne, ’18, Peabody College, VUcept Executive Board

I have felt like I was drowning at exactly two points in my life. Once, when my dad literally threw me in the deep end of the pool at the ripe age of three in an expertly concocted attempt to teach me how to swim. I don’t want to spoil the results of the “Bobby Coyne Swim School” program too much, but let’s just say a lifeguard had to get involved.

“I urge you to find your pool, and leap without fear.”

The other time was after my first House Advisory Council meeting as president. The meeting was chaotic and terrifying. I was expected to have an agenda, a plan, and to command the group of my peers, older RAs, and even a faculty member? I was at the bottom of the pool, new, confused, and running out of air fast. Luckily, Vanderbilt is not short on lifeguards. The very people in that room intimidating me ended up saving me; I owned up to how unprepared I felt, and each helped me learn to thrive.

You’re here at Vanderbilt, on the cusp of something great. You’ve gotten here, and people always say that that’s the hardest part. But to me, the hardest part was admitting that I had a long way to go. Learning from the amazing people surrounding me definitely turned adjusting into thriving, leading meetings into leadership, and acquaintances into lifelong mentors and friends. I urge you to find your pool, and leap without fear, because you’ll be hard pressed to find a place with better and more caring lifeguards.

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