Graduate Audrey Halbert speaks to the class of 2022

The Value of Vulnerability

As we celebrate our graduates this spring, we hear many powerful stories about their experienceboth in college and in life. More often than not, they’re stories of overcoming significant obstacles to reach their dreams.

We get to hear from some of these students during our graduations ceremonies. We call them our “Voices.” This week, we’ll be sharing several of their speeches with you here.

We hope you learn something worthwhile from each our our graduate’s voices.

Audrey HalbertAssociate of Arts Degree With Psychology Designation

I am a perfectionist. I don’t like making mistakes of any kind, and I always have to uphold a positive image. This also means that I always have to seem like I’m doing “okay.”

Good evening, everyone. My name is Audrey Halbert. Thank you all for coming tonight to celebrate the class of 2022.

From a very young age, I have always received great accolades from the people around me. “Oh, she’s so nice, she’s so smart, she’s a great kid.” As a child, I took from that that people like me for the good things that I do, and I should always perform my highest and do my best, and that’s how I will get people to like me.

I want everyone to like me and approve of me. Well, I now realize that that’s truly not realistic—and rather unhealthy—but it seemed to work if I walked into a room with an upbeat attitude, put a smile on my face, and powered through the day. It became an endless cycle of pushing my emotions away to the point where not even I knew what I was feeling.

Thankfully, Front Range provided me with a support system and the courage to confront and process my emotions in a healthy way.

I stopped running from feeling what I needed to feel. Front Range is a place where my experiences matter, and I am heard and validated as a human being. And in this safe environment, sharing my experiences got significant weight off my shoulders, and I was able to connect with people on a whole new level.

When I graduated from high school in 2020, Front Range wasn’t even remotely on my radar. I was originally going to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, but the week before I was supposed to leave, I got the email saying all my classes were going to be online.

I did some rethinking. Screw it, I’ll just go to Front Range. Little did I know, my life would change for the better—I would get to embrace the complexity of life, and I would get to call this place home. Front Range taught me that life is more than just the happy parts, and sometimes, the most meaningful moments in life are not happy. And that is okay, because every experience contributes in some regard to who I am and what I can offer.

In the fall, I will be transferring to Colorado State University to continue my degree in psychology with hopes of helping people. I want to be there for people the way so many have been for me.

Because I have experienced feeling invisible, alone, belittled—and even though these experiences are hurtful, they gave me a superpower. And that superpower is the chance to be vulnerable. Through being a source of reassurance and support to someone else who may be experiencing what I have, I can help them.

There is no true connection without vulnerability; I have made some of the greatest connections here because I was willing to share my story.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is show your more vulnerable side. Not only could it be most helpful for you, but also the people around you. And, vulnerability truly only requires a small amount of pain for a little bit, that ounce of fear beforehand, and then afterward, you are much more fulfilled than you were before.

So, be willing to put yourself out there and be vulnerable.

Thank you and congratulations, class of 2022!

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