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Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science - Graduate Speaker: Suzanne Pickering

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Suzanne Pickering

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates…

A graduation ceremony is an event where the speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success. 

I am greatly humbled to be presenting on behalf of all the graduating students today. It’s not an easy task to sum up four years of university in four minutes, however I will do my best. 

Firstly I would like to say thank you. Thank you to God for being my strength and confidence. Thank you to my incredible family, and the families of my fellow graduates. I think I can speak on behalf of the graduating class when I say you have been our driving force throughout university. It hasn’t always been easy, but your ongoing love, support and encouragement has helped us reach our goals. You have played such as significant part in our lives, we wouldn’t have made it this far without you. 

Secondly, I would like to say thank you to all the lecturers who have equipped us with skills and knowledge throughout our time at university. Thank you for marking hundreds of assignments, presenting hours of lectures, and providing a great deal of support along the way. 

Finally, a huge thank you to ECU for making our university experience a great one! 

I think I can speak for all of us when I say university has not always been easy. The assignments, presentations, clinical placements and exams have brought many laughs, tears, challenges and triumphs. Graduates, you should be incredibly proud of yourselves. Look back and think about the person you were in 1st year, and then look at the person you are today. You pushed through and kept running your race until the end. That is something worth celebrating. 

The word ‘student’ will no longer be printed on your badge, you are all now qualified professionals. Graduating class, we actually did it! 

A supervisor once asked me; “If you could go back in time, what are three pieces of advice that you would give to your younger self when you started your degree?”

I believe my answer applies to us all as we prepare to enter the real world...

1. Believe in yourself and don’t doubt yourself! Don’t worry if you don’t know everything, that’s what learning is all about! 

2. Expect to make mistakes! Don’t be too hard on yourself, because every mistake you make you learn from! Be positive, listen to advice, take it on and learn from it.

3. Enjoy and make the most of each experience! Time flies...make an effort to get to know people!

In the words of Winston Churchill

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”

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