Friday, December 18, 2015

Fall Commencement speaker Daniel Reichwein: never, ever give up

Daniel Reichwein
Germanna Community College 2015 Fall Commencement alum speaker Daniel Reichwein is an example of courage and perseverance for all of us.

Reichwein, who has battled depression and PTSD, was living in a tent in a wooded area adjacent to the Fredericksburg Industrial Park when he enrolled at GCC in 2011.

In spite of the problems he faced, Reichwein excelled, graduating from Germanna a year later with a 3.94 GPA while working 32 hours a week. He transferred to William & Mary and earned his bachelor’s degree there last August. He’s currently a social worker with the Salvation Army in Fredericksburg, using his experiences to help others.

A total of 646 students were awarded 1,112 degrees and certificates Thursday night during commencement exercises at the Fredericksburg Expo Center.

The 32-year-old Thornburg resident’s never-give-up message is one that failure needn’t be the end—that it can drive one on to success.

“I was ready to change,” he said. “I had been homeless almost three years. I had to start doing things differently. I worked hard to do it and I received help from others.”
Daniel Reichwein speaks at Thursday's commencement
He said Micah Ministries, which works with the homeless in Fredericksburg, helped him get a part time job and suggested he enroll at GCC. One of Micah’s employees drove him to the college.

Another Micah employee, Dawn Witter, took him in.

“She opened her home to me,” Reichwein said. “I’m not sure I would’ve been able to finish my studies at Germanna if I’d lived out of a tent for two semesters.”

He called his three years of homelessness “a learning experience” and said much of what he learned came when he put aside his own concerns to help other homeless people.

“What’s made the biggest difference in my life is failure—three years of homelessness, dropping out of college without finishing and being discharged from the military basically for not showing up for work,” Reichwein told a crowd of 2,000 Thursday night at the Fredericksburg Expo Center.He was given an honorary discharge as an Army Reservist due to depression.

“Failure drives success,’ he said. "Failure strengthens us. I teaches us. It enables us to change.

Daniel Reichwein and Thursday's crowd

“From my failures, I gained strength, altruism, empathy for others. I learned to finish what I start. And I learned that past failures can lead to new successes.”

The second crucial component in changing his life was tenacity, he said.

“Nobody is going to give you anything in life. You need to earn what you receive, to continue to strive and never accept defeat. You’re better than your past failures and you’re more capable than you think.”

After graduating from William & Mary, he said, “I thought things would be easy.” But a job offer in Washington fell through and he nearly found himself homeless again.

“Things worked out and I was able to get a job as a social worker here in town with the Salvation Army. I’ve learned to relish the good moments while I pursue the longer term goals I have.”

“You’re better than your past failures,” he told the crowd Thursday night. “You’re more capable than others think. Know that you were meant to make a difference in this world, regardless of where you come from.”

Finally, he learned that satisfaction and a sense of completeness must be derived from within oneself.

“For years I chased externally derived fulfillment,” based on earning others’ praise [or the idea of becoming affluent]. This led me nowhere… It only led to being unhappy and depressed

“I’m in charge of my own dreams now,” he said. “And I’m just getting started. And so are you.”


Unknown said...

You should never give up. You have to keep trying. There are many examples where it can be applied. For example, you want to find a job. You tried once, twice but without result. You can give up and stay on unloved work. But you can keep trying and 5 attempt will be successful. But don't forget that you should not only try. You should have a great resume (you always can get help ) You should take into account all the details that can help you get the job.

Twinkle said...

Nice post. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the post!
Web Design Company in Tuticorin | Domain Name Registration In India
Web Design Company In India | Digital Marketing Company in India
Bulk SMS Service India | SEO Company India
PPC Services in India | Social Media Marketing Company in India

Swetha Sri said...

Excellent & Informative article and it seems to be helpful to everyone. Visit our website
sathya online shopping
buy ac online
buy refrigerator online
buy LED TV online
buy washing machine online

Karpagam College of Engineering said...

Best Engineering Colleges in Coimbatore
Top Engineering Colleges in Coimbatore
Best Engineering Institute in Coimbatore
Top Engineering Colleges in Tamilnadu
Engineering Colleges in Tamilnadu
Top Ranking engineering college in Tamilnadu
top colleges in coimbatore
autonomous engineering colleges in coimbatore
top engineering colleges in coimbatore
best automobile engineering colleges in coimbatore
automobile engineering colleges in coimbatore
top colleges of automobile engineering in india
civil engineering colleges in coimbatore
coimbatore civil engineering colleges
top civil engineering colleges in coimbatore
best computer science engineering colleges in coimbatore
best computer science engineering colleges in tamilnadu
best colleges in coimbatore for computer science engineering
Top Colleges for eee-electrical and electronics engineering in coimbatore
best college for eee in coimbatore
Best electrical and electronics engineering college in coimbatore
top mba colleges in coimbatore

Karpagam Academy of Higher Education said...

Top College In Coimbatore
Best Arts and Science Colleges in Coimbatore
Best Engineering College in Coimbatore
Top Engineering College in coimbatore
Top Arts College in Coimbatore
Best Arts and Science College in India
Best Arts and Science College in TamilNadu
Top Arts College in India
Top B.Sc in Biochemistry College In India
Best Biochemistry College in Coimbatore
Top Bio technology College in Coimbatore
Best Bio technology college in India
Top Microbiology College In India
Best Microbiology College in Coimbatore
Top B.Sc Chemistry College in India
Best College for Chemistry in Coimbatore
Best Physics college in India
Top B.Sc Physics colleges in Coimbatore
Top B.Sc in Mathematics College In India
Best Mathematics College in Coimbatore