Saturday, 31 January 2015
Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates…
I’d like to begin with a few words of wisdom from my favourite author: Jane Austen. “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”
Last month I was Christmas shopping in the city, when I received a voicemail from a member of ECU staff requesting I return their call as soon as possible. Well, my stomach dropped- I thought, oh no, I’ve failed something- I’m not going to graduate- I’m going to have to repeat a semester. The worst possible scenarios played out in my mind while I fumbled the keypad on my phone to return the call. I was shocked, to say the least, to learn that I had been recommended to deliver this speech to you, the class of 2014. But, I’m very happy to stand here with you today and celebrate this milestone in our lives.
We are now alumni. Feels amazing, doesn’t it? During the past four years at Edith Cowan University, I have met some truly incredible – and inspiring people. These people, who I proudly call my friends, have encouraged me to challenge myself, and to engage with the world in new ways; they’ve been an unfailing source of support during the many trials and tribulations of student life – academic, and personal. I want to say a huge thank you to them, they know who they are.
For many of us, university life was juggled amongst part-time jobs, family commitments… and if you were lucky, a social life. I know personally, I would have thrown in the towel had it not been for my family – who put up with me countless times in sleep deprived states, crying out of sheer frustration over assignments. I want to especially thank my Mum: thank you for your love and encouragement… and patience.
These past few years as a student at ECU have allowed me to live inside a world of Victorian literature, and immerse myself in French culture… I have also learned invaluable life lessons by participating in our local political conversations. Though for me, the most valuable lesson I have learned as a student is this: life is not a race. Our classes may be over (for now), but learning is a lifelong journey. Success is subjective – and it means different things to different people. What I want to wish upon you is happiness. Pour your heart and soul into everything you do – be honest, and work hard. In the words of Paul Hawken (2009), “You are brilliant and the Earth is hiring.”
To the graduating class of 2014: this is just the beginning.
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