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.
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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I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.