I really enjoyed attending convocation this year and thought the whole event was very insightful and interesting. It was a great experience to hear some of the stories from the author first hand and for me it furthered the reading of Just Mercy by adding a lot of emotion to it. Just reading the book doesn't capture all the emotions that were so evident in the author's voice and body language as he retold stories of racial injustice in his own life. Although the stories he told at convocation I was already exposed to in his book, I felt like I was hearing it in a totally new way and it became a lot more real to me. People can read about the issues all the time and for whatever reason since it is just written word it becomes somewhat fantasy and isn't taken as something that really happened, but when people sit and listen to someone tell them a story from his/her own personal life, about his/her own struggles or encounters, it really solidifies the reality of the matter and people are far more compelled to feel a certain way. I would definitely say this was the case with Brian Stevenson. I think the main message from Brian Stevenson's speech is that everyone deserves a fair chance in this world despite their skin color, culture, upbringing, or social status. I agree with him completely because there are plenty of people who are born into unfavorable circumstances and are never given a fair chance in life. These people should not have less of a chance at being successful or even just at staying out of trouble due to what they are born into which is something they have no say in. Everyone should be treated equally in society and it is unfair to persecute someone just because they didn't have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Overall the convocation was a learning experience. I enjoyed learning about the fight songs and I really felt like a part of the pack sitting in the crowd there. It was good hearing from our student body president, he seemed well qualified and I felt comfortable placing my trust in him. I think this event should be mandatory because if I'm being honest, I really was not looking forward to it going in, however I came out and was certainly glad I had the opportunity. I learned a lot of valuable information, had my perspective altered a bit, and made me feel at home here at NC State.

The main thing I learned from Brian Stevenson's speech is that although not everyone sees it first hand, or it may just seem a myth to many people, racial inequality is still a clear issue in our society. This shapes my perspective as an undergraduate student here at NC State because in my short amount of time here I have already seen so much diversity and all different types of people and we all need to understand that there is no difference between any of us. We are one community of equals and nobody should be treated differently in any way on the basis of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any factors of that nature. Although I have not witnessed anybody being mistreated firsthand, I'm aware it happens, and the takeaway we should all understand from Just Mercy is that we need to right the wrongdoings of our society and ensure we are living together in a balanced society in harmony.