Two men, one in academic robes and second in a suit pose together in a gymnasium

Alumnus shares lessons from “Making the Most of It” in Convocation keynote

September 7, 2022
By: Worcester State University News

Alumnus Seth Pitts ‘10 delivered the keynote address at Worcester State’s Fall 2022 Convocation for incoming students on Sept. 6. Born and raised in Worcester, Pitts is Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at Bay State Savings Bank

Recognized as one of Worcester’s 40 under 40 by the Worcester Business Journal, Pitts has chaired the City of Worcester’s Trust Funds Commission for one term and is in the midst of a second term as a member. Additionally, Seth has recently been appointed to the Seven Hills Foundation Board and will be joining the Worcester State Foundation board as a director later this month.  

While at Worcester State, Seth was an active and engaged member of the WSU community. He ran track for a season, was a member of the WSU football team, worked as an resident assistant in Wasylean Hall and worked in the IT department on the help desk for three years.

Here are his remarks:

What would you think if I told you that I was your future self?  I know I can’t technically be myself and your future self. So, what if I told you that I was actually “speaking” for your future self (anything is possible in the future right)? 

 You’d probably think I’m crazy or wasting your time, and others might agree. 

But, if I did speak for your future self, l would tell you, “Making the Most of It” made all the difference. By that I mean: Making the most of the opportunities in front of us, from this day forward, made all the difference for who and what we ultimately become. 

 Our own unique version of “Making the Most of It” might differ from others around us. But no matter what version we choose, “Making the Most of It” can open the door to a beautiful world that begins right here. So, I promise to make this quick but if you’ll share just a few more moments with me, I’d like to suggest a few hard-learned lessons that helped me make the most of it.

First, change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change. Perspectives matter. My earliest days here felt very uncomfortable largely because I was unfamiliar, closed off, and stuck in my old ways. But that changed when I decided to focus more on what’s in front of me and less on what was behind me.

I felt better when I chose to look for the purpose in my pain, learn the lessons from my losses, and harvest the wisdom buried deep within my wounds. Being open to different people, ideas, and experiences paved the way for some of my greatest achievements, worst hangovers, and unforgettable friendships. So, remember to look for the positive in whatever life presents you.

 Second, keep taking the small steps forward; and choose progress over perfection. I used to spend too much time wishing, wanting, and waiting on the perfect path. I didn’t spend nearly enough time on any real progress. It predictably got me nowhere and usually without any time left on the clock. But that changed, when I actually took the advice I’d been given many times before: Keep Moving Forward.  The journey of one thousand miles really does begin with one step. After many small steps, more listening, and less hesitation, I completed one journey, and a few more after that. 

 So when you feel stuck, just take the next best step forward.

And finally: Don’t worry so much. 

The peace we gain from preparation can overcome the chaos we feel from uncertainty.  Worrying so much about uncertain outcomes became a big distraction and mood killer for me. But that changed, when I decided to place the work above the worry and lean into who I wanted to become. I realized that actually doing the work to get the grades, gain new friends, or go as far as possible felt much better than waiting for worries to leave me or for chance to reward me. Letting go of worry helped shift my focus from whether or not I belonged here to wondering how I can help others with what I’ve learned here.

So don’t worry about what will go wrong, prepare for what will go right.

These are just a few of the many things that helped me make the most of it, and I believe they can help you. Because I’m not perfect. I’ve collected scars along the way.  I’ve experienced trauma and setbacks but also love and forgiveness. I went from being kicked out of school as a kid to kicking off the school year today. I used to see college as a small piece of paper and a big slice of debt. I now see it as an important journey with the power to shape us for the better. 

I’m so grateful for the opportunities provided by my relationship with this institution, even if it took a while to understand. The people and experiences here helped me tap into my full potential and become everything I never thought possible: a loving father with a beautiful family headed for a bright future. 

 All people may not be able to be all things, but there is so much room in between. 

To borrow a few words from the late Winston Churchill: There are special moments in each of our lives where we are tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing that is unique to us and fitted to our particular talents. What a tragedy it would be if those moments found us unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been our finest hour. 

 By looking for the positives, continuing to push forward, and remembering not to worry, I’m sure that each of you will be ready for your own finest hours. 

 So here’s to “Making the Most of It!”

Photo: President Barry Maloney with Seth Pitts ‘10 at the 2022 Convocation.

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