Comments 10

Graduation day

Commencement officially marks the end of student life, even though in our minds, the transition was made the day we finished our last exam in college. We’ve entered the next level of that video game that never ceases to fascinate us. Treasures have been found, hills climbed, landscapes traversed, battles fought and won or lost, accomplices identified, cheat codes memorized indelably. The time has come to remodel the avatar and refine the tasks.

Staging black gowns and graduation hats, the class of 2009 officially ended its undergraduate tenure. There were smiles and flashes everywhere; Commencement 2009 at SMU (Singapore Management University, from where I graduate) became the culmination of all memories created and collected over 4 years. My own ineffability thus far was transcended by a sense of delight and hope, and a tinge of nostalgia.

grad pic

Graduation - July 09 122

The commencement address, delivered by a member of the Keppel Coporation, was, in all aspects, disappointing, dismaying and demotivating. The R word was justified in being featured in the speech, but certainly not expected to consume it entirely.

Tell us that for one day, we can forget the recession, the economy, the downturn, the crisis. Tell us that for one day, we can smile about what is and not fret over what could have been, because in the bigger picture, luck is still on our side. Tell us that for one day, we need to think beyond the obvious and look beyond the obvious, because in our tiny little existences, there is a whole world we have forgotten to think about. Tell us that for one day, we can nourish the relationships we have built over 4 years, because they matter more than all the money we’ll make in the next 40. Tell us that for one day, we can revisit the dreams we dreamed as students. Tell us that for one day, we can believe in our potential and battle all odds. Tell us that from hereon, we can choose to write our own destiny. Drilling the economy’s distress into our heads will not help us survive these times, believing in us will.

I posted 3 brilliant graduation speeches post my unofficial graduation. I shall spare you the torture of the commencement address I heard live. Instead, here is an awesome, light-hearted speech by Ellen Degeneres at Tulane.

Happy Graduation, class of 2009!


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Hello! I'm Shivya. 7+ years ago, I quit my full-time corporate job and started travelling the world. I gave up my home, sold most of my possessions and embraced the life of a digital nomad. I'm passionate about sustainable tourism, offbeat destinations, solo travel and veganism. If you enjoyed reading this blog post, leave me a comment and let me know. You can also buy a copy of my bestselling book, The Shooting Star. Thanks for joining my adventures virtually! Connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @shivya.


  1. Graduation Day …. must be a mixed feeling …. No personal experience though 😛

  2. Congratulations and All the Best! And trust me that the next level of the video game is as good as the previous one if not better.

    That video was hilarious! Too good…

  3. @ Harsh: You’ll experience it soon. Mixed indeed.

    @ Varun: Thanks Varun 🙂 I sure hope so. Yes yes, Ellen is awesome!

  4. lightfellow says

    Congratulations Shivya, it sure have been a tough ride! I am already bracing for the onslaught of the R words you mentioned of, in my convocation. An unmotivated speech is better off not spoken. Good thing I had to work that day!

    Ellen is just…clueless, which is exactly the kind of thing we need for the next phase of our lives.

  5. It was not a mixed feeling for me. I was very very sad! 🙂
    Congratulations! And if it makes you feel better, I never got a speech when I graduated.

  6. @ Lightfellow: Thanks 🙂 Yeap, it was probably better off not spoken. Left a bitter taste. Clueless? Ellen is hilarious!

    @ Amit: Aw, I don’t think I’ve had a proper closure yet.

  7. manchitra says

    Congrats! Shivya . How do you feel after the graduation?.Hope all good things happen to you. all the best.

  8. @ Manchitra: Thanks 🙂 I guess it still hasn’t hit me. Mixed feelings, so I dont feel all that sad that student life is over. Actually, I’m really kind of excited about the next phase!

  9. Technology says

    I woke up this morning sad but after finding this post my mood improved.

  10. Marcy says

    I don’t like the sound of all those lists he’s making – it’s like fetching too many notes at high school; you feel you’ve achieved something when you haven’t.

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