Alumna who serves as Boston Bruins’ player development and scouting assistant encourages Class of 2026 to say ‘yes’ to opportunities

By Danielle Marmer '17, MS '21 August 31, 2022

QU alumna and NHL Boston Bruins hockey operations staff Danielle Marmer speaks to new students from a podium

Welcome Class of 2026 and congratulations on being here!

I’m excited to share with you the secret to getting the most out of this experience, and it’s also the secret to getting everything you want in life. The answer? Simply say “yes.”

Before I get into it, I do want to say that I’m honored to have been asked to help welcome you all to Quinnipiac. This is truly such a special place and the fact that you’ve chosen to continue your education here means you see it as well.

But this experience isn’t just about your education. To be successful here, you will have to do your homework, you will spend some late nights in the Arnold Bernhard Library, you will have to go to class — most of the time. I’m just kidding, please go to class!

You may be surprised to hear this, but the education is the easy part.

Each one of you, whether you’ve declared a major yet or not, or maybe you’re in a 3+1, 4+2, 3+3, or some other addition problem of a program, the path to your diploma is provided for you.

You undoubtably will have to put in the work, but the classes you need to take and the work you need to do is laid out for you. Take advantage of having a plan.

This is important because the rest of your experience here, outside of the classroom, there is no plan.

There is no syllabus week or WebAdvisor/self-service tools to aid your self-discovery, interpersonal relationships, or finding your passion and your purpose. That is all up to you. And just like anything in life this experience is what you make of it.

So I urge you to get outside of your comfort zone right away, don’t wait to settle in, and start saying “yes.” Say “yes” to joining a club or an intramural sports team, participate in university activities, scream your head off at as many athletic events as you can.

And if staying in your dorm room playing video games and scrolling through TikTok is more your speed, then at least keep the door open so you can accidentally meet people walking by.

You just don’t know who you’ll meet or what passion you might discover that will completely change the trajectory of your life.

I didn’t start taking this advice until later on in my college years, and I didn’t fully master it until well after graduation.

I quickly learned that in the real world you have to work harder to meet new people or “network” as us working professionals like to call it.

Realizing this, I started saying “yes” a whole lot more.

So by the time the coach I played for here, Cassie Turner, asked if I wanted to return to the Q and join her staff as the director of player development and hockey operations for the women’s ice hockey team, while it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, I knew it was a step in the right direction, so I said “yes.”

When she asked if I wanted to simultaneously earn a masters degree, I said “yes.”

And two years in when she asked if I’d be interested in applying for a mentorship program with the Boston Bruins scouting department, even though it would add more work to my already full plate, I was a pro at saying “yes.”

I said “yes" to these things not because I knew where they would take me, but because I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I said “no.”

I pictured this mentorship program as a resume builder to help me get my next coaching job, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would lead to me developing prospects within the Boston Bruins’ organization. You never know which “yes” or series of “yesses” will be your break.

While I’m quite content with my path, I often wonder about the missed opportunities, the unopened doors, and the yesses I should have said when I was standing in your shoes.

Who else could I have met? What other skills or passions could I have unlocked? I had an unbelievable group of teammates and friends from Quinnipiac, many of whom I still speak with on a regular basis, and who are quite amused that I’m standing up here before you all today. They keep me humble. But the point being, I stayed in my circle and in my comfort zone, and by doing that, I know I left new experiences and growth opportunities on the table.

You’ve made the decision to come to Quinnipiac which means you’ve already said the most important “yes.” Good start.

Remember that your education is the easy part as long as you put in the work and stick to the plan.

Know that you may never again be a part of a community that encompasses people from so many different states, countries, backgrounds, and belief systems.

You will do yourself a disservice if you only interact and engage with like-minded people.

So get outside of your comfort zone and expand your circle. And lastly, say “yes” often.

Jiggle every door handle because the one with your dream job behind it just might be unlocked.

Welcome and good luck, Class of 2026. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

The best four years of your life starts now.

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