Commencement Speaker Encourages Dreamers to Become Doers

Published on December 15, 2021

Dreaming isn’t enough, said Eastern Kentucky University graduate Shelby Reynolds. A dream must have a doer behind it in order to become a reality. 


Reynolds provided inspirational words to her fellow graduates during the 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremonies for the colleges of Education and Applied Human Sciences and Health Sciences on December 3. She earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy. 


“We all came into this as dreamers,” she said. “Dreams to become what we said when we were asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The thing about dreams is that we can’t stop at just dreams or those dreams never turn into reality. We have to ditch the dream and become a doer, not a dreamer.” 



While obstacles inevitably stand in the way of achieving those dreams, Reynolds reminded her fellow graduates that those shouldn’t stop progress, but they should serve as reality checks. 


One major reality check for these graduates is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 


“It closed many doors, but opened some as well,” she said. “We have now gained the skills of flexibility, resilience, mastery of TikTok dances and -- maybe the only thing near perfect -- our banana bread recipes.” 


She also reminded graduates that perfection may not be attainable. 


“These years have taught us to appreciate the small things in life and cherish the moments that we can share,” she said. “We continue to dream of normalcy, but perfection is not the end goal in this.” 


When dreamers become doers, milestones can be reached. 


“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” she said. “Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and become the doer. With that, each of you can change the world.” 


EKU recognized 1,341 degree candidates from its six colleges during its fall commencement ceremonies held December 3-4.