This day is about us! I want this day to be about us, and I will tell you why.
We often tend to think that all our achievements have to do with making someone else proud, or happy. When we graduate, or win an award we say “This is for my family”, or for someone else important in our life. We think we wouldn’t be able to do anything if it wasn’t for our family, or for our professors. Let me tell you something; Yes, you can make it even without your family’s support, or professors. The transition into online classes showed this. I know it sounds harsh and I feel the tension building up now, but ask yourself this “Why are you here today? Why did you choose this path and not another? What kept you motivated?”
If you think you couldn’t have done this without your family, you are wrong. There are so many students that don’t have the same family support, and there are students that have to take care of their family instead. Students who became something so different from what their parents wanted for them and their relationship has cracked because of that. There are students who came from other countries with nothing else but their dream. Students who might be still grieving their parents lost but are here today.
I have had a very long and difficult journey myself. I came from another country all alone, and none of my family were here for any of my graduations or any of my other achievements, and I’ve had a lot so far. I remember my mom used to tell me “Follow your dreams. We had our journey, and now it is your turn. Choose your own path, and do it for you, do it for the future you want. We believe in you.” This is something that will stay with me forever. Yes, they couldn’t be here for me, but I am lucky, to have a family that believes in me. Therefore, yes, you can do it without your family; yes, you did it despite everything.
So, if you want to become a doctor, a scientist, an engineer, or whatever you want to become, please do so for yourself, do so because that is what you really want to do. Don’t do it to prove anything to your parents, or society, or anyone in the world.
Be curious, be passionate, be creative and do what you love. Believe more in yourself. Don’t wait for approval. Your family will love you and will be proud of you no matter what, and if they don’t, that’s their loss. This is for you first, because you didn’t give up. Despite all you went through, you didn’t give up. And then, it’s for us. For all of us, because the strength, will, and the dream for a better future in each of us, together was amplified and made everything possible.
Now, I want to go back to the professors. I said we could learn things without them, and it’s true. But, why would you want to do something alone, why would you want to make your journey more difficult when you can make it more joyful, easier, with the valuable guidance of someone who wants to help you grow and become better. Someone who can see in you things you never thought you have. Someone who nourishes you without competition.
The reason why I focused on you, as a student is that, no matter how good or bad a professor is, no matter how good or bad your family is; you can only change, grow or become better if you want to. Only you have that power. I am not saying that we don’t need anyone, all I am saying is don’t let the absence of some people’s support stop you from what you want to do. Be receptive, be open and always follow what your heart wants, because believe me, there will always be someone, maybe someone you never thought of, who will accept you, grab your hand, be by your side, mentor you, but you have to give them that chance. You have to be willing to do that, you have to be willing to fight for what you want.
Believe more in yourself, find out who you are and what you want to be and stick with it. Don’t tell your family or your professor “ I couldn’t have done this without you”. Instead, thank them for all the support, love and wisdom they shared with you, and be grateful they were part of your journey.
Thank you, and congratulations! Keep following your dreams, and don’t give up! The world needs us!
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