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Middlebury celebrates commencement

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College graduates took their last walk as students as they celebrated their 2014 commencement ceremony Sunday.

It's the moment many graduates look forward to -- the beginning of the rest of their lives.

"It was a whirlwind tour -- four years -- but it seemed to fly by so much faster than that," said Nathan Gaudio, a graduating senior.  Jennifer Johnston, one of the 517 students spending their last moments on the Middlebury College campus, reminded the class of 2014 to cherish every moment. "And in the case you can't remember this on memory alone, remember to always take a selfie," she said.

This year's commencement speaker was Diana Nyad, the first athlete to complete the 110 mile swim from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage. Nyad reminded the grads to ask themselves -- what's next? "Do we know what we're going to do? Probably not. But I'm asking you, what are you going to do with this one, wild, precious life of yours?" she said.

"I don't really know and I'm ok with that. I know a lot of people kind of freak out about that, but I think with the tools I got from this school, nothing can stop me," Gaudio said.

For others, the future is a little more clear. "I'm gonna be living in New York City. I will be doing anti sexual assault work," said graduating senior Kristina Johansson.

But above all students were reminded to remember what they've learned. "I've definitely transformed a lot during my four years here. I wouldn't recognize my freshman self, but it's really cool to see how much I've changed," Johansson said.

And to always look at the bigger picture. "What a goal it would be to say that you did all of it -- this college -- experience and all the rest of your lives, so that you just can't do it even a finger nail better," Nyad said.

For these graduates, no matter what lies ahead, the best is still yet to come. "Class of 2014, it is just beginning," Johnston said.

Beginning -- and an end -- as the journey continues. 
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