Alejandro Villanueva has spent a few summers up at Saint Vincent College now since he became a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team has held its training camp there for over 50 years, after all, so any player who has been with the team through an offseason has gotten a taste of that—even Antonio Brown before he got his own housing off-campus.
Many who have gone there have come to fall in love with not just the campus, but the entire environment, down to the school. Villanueva has clearly been among them, as he recently chose to give back in a small way by serving as the commencement speaker for the college’s graduation ceremony yesterday. Teresa Varley provided a recap of what he said in his speech, via the team’s website.
“Life is like reading a tough book. As you read it, sometimes you’ll read a page or a paragraph where you have to stop and ask yourself, ‘what in the world did I just read?’, he told the graduating class at one point during his commencement address, which is the first that he has given.
“Similarly, I think we all try to make sense of life as best we can, and over time, it becomes a collection of chapters and anecdotes that ultimately come together to shape your outlook on life”, he went on. “Good experiences shape you in a way, bad experiences shape you in different ways. The reason I use this cheesy cliché analogy of reading a book is because English is not my first language, and I’ve always struggled with reading comprehension”.
He went on to explain that when he was younger, he would condense complex ideas in material that he was reading into a single sentence that would be easier for him to comprehend. “These sentences in real life are nothing more than life lessons”, he said. His purpose in giving this speech was to “share some of the notes I’ve taken in life and hope you find them useful”.
One of the mental notes that he wrote down came from an early experience during his military training, in the midst of which he spent a period of months hungry, tired, and cold during the day. Every night he came home to eat a warm meal and sleep in a warm bed was an entirely different experience from that point.
“As long as I’m warm, fed, and have slept a couple hours, there’s absolutely nothing in the world that I can possibly complain about”, he said. “The mental note stayed with me as a pretty important reminder that every single endeavor, activity and circumstance outside of those three is nothing more than a series of created expectations in my life to include pain. I could control my outlook on everything simply by changing my attitude or my perception of the world. While it is almost impossible to live life constantly reminding yourself this and living in perfect contentment, it was good for me to know that at one point, I was able to realize this”.
The full article is worth a read and, as always, can be accessed through the provided link above. Villanueva has been among the most well-spoken members of the organization since he first stepped foot in the building, so it’s no surprise to see him successfully deliver a commencement address.