Graduates of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut got a special commencement speech, one delivered from pretty far away.
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, a 1982 engineering graduate, spoke to students from outer space.
As The Onion joked, this speech meant "a UConn education is out of this world!"
He went on to explain that getting the job wasn’t easy; after his own graduation from UConn in 1982, Mastracchio earned two master’s degrees, worked several engineering jobs and repeatedly sent in applications to NASA’s astronaut corps. After nine years of applying, Mastracchio was chosen as an astronaut candidate in 1996.
“Nine years is a long time to pursue anything, especially a job,” he said.
But Mastracchio pointed out his journey to becoming an astronaut isn't too different from what graduates of 2014 will face.
“You become an astronaut the same way you accomplish any goal –- through hard work and perseverance,” Mastracchio said. "Everyone has goals, dreams, and wishes, but not everybody wants to do the daily work it takes to reach their goals. … You achieve big things not with one big step but with many small steps. You didn’t complete college in one day. It took you working hard almost daily for four or five years. Other big goals and accomplishments will probably take a similar level of work and effort."