Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Would You Say To A Class of Graduating Students?

Thanks to INGENS founder, Reeves Lim I was alerted to the speech given by J K Rowling to the graduating class of Harvard University. The author of the perpetually multiplying franchise of Harry Potter gave an inspiring speech about post-graduate life. I followed up watching her videos on YouTube with those by Bill Gates and Seth McFarlane. They were entertaining and educational to say the least.

Now, back to you – what would you say to a class of graduating students from university? What words of wisdom would you share with them? What would say that will help them prepare for their future?

As I thought through these questions, I realized that I was facilitating myself through a challenging, albeit reflective journey. What could I possibly say to these graduates, given the opportunity one day? What would I say, that would significantly engage them to a call for action?

I will begin with congratulating the graduates on their achievement. Recognition is an important value for building rapport. Graduation day is a day of celebration with your fellow classmates, family, and your teachers. It is a day of relief and disbelief that it is all over. It is a major milestone in many people’s lives, regardless of whether you received a certificate, diploma or degree. As cliché as it may sound, it is indeed a day that marks the end, yet also the beginning.

I would remind them to recall those experiences they had – both pleasant and unpleasant. I would urge them to look forward to a future with a sense of openness, for they will be sprung with surprises, shocks and even rude awakenings. However, these events and occasions will shape them even further as the education may have stopped (for now), but the learning does not.

I would encourage them to explore their options and dreams; never compromise your dreams! I would urge them to stay resilient, when they encounter crises, disappointments and failures. If they fail, fail forward and learn from their lessons, however senseless at times they may be. I would suggest that take everything in stride, pace themselves and go with the flow. Trust their intuition. Appreciate criticism as these are testing and trying on one’s patience and self-esteem, yet we need them to change (for the better). Life may be short, so enjoy every moment of being alive.

But that’s just me. What would you say to them?

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