The AUBG Class of 2023 student commencement speaker was Kristian Petrov from Bulgaria. Read or watch below his speech (rewind 28 minutes):
Dear faculty, administration and staff members, parents, guests, and fellow colleagues from the class of 2023,
We made it!
As we are all gathered here at this joyous occasion, this day of celebration – and I can see the smiles beaming from your faces – I must make a confession. Standing before you, I am absolutely terrified! Terrified, not only because this is the first time I am speaking in front of so many people. Not only because I am not sure if I will ever find a community like the one AUBG has. But mainly because, as of tomorrow, we will enter what we, the students, call ‘the real life’. This fear has been with us throughout our whole life, and with the conclusion of our studies, it may seem daunting. But I am not here to tell you not to be afraid. Quite the opposite. Because, as Nelson Mandela said, courage is not the absence of fear; it is the triumph over it.
Right from our first day here, we had to face our fears. We all remember these challenges: leaving our families and learning how to live on our own. Being away from our friends and having to find new ones. And while for me, Blagoevgrad is just an hour away from home, for some of you AUBG was on the other side of the globe. I can only imagine how scary it must have been to travel to a new country, that speaks a different language and has its own distinct culture and traditions. And yet, you did it!
Academically, we took courses that were not in our areas of expertise. Most of you will relate to the anxious feeling I had before my first math and science lectures. And yet, we did that!
Those of us in student organizations know the knots in your stomach before an event. The hundreds of hours of unseen work, the countless meetings, all done to create something that only lasts a couple of hours but benefits the community. And yet, we did that!
In 2020, we had to learn how to live and be students in a whole new world with uncertainty looming from every corner. And yet, we did that!
The fear in the past four years that we had to find a job or an internship during the academic year or for the summer. And yet, we did that!
Looking back, AUBG has forced us to go through some of the scariest moments of our lives. But at the same time, the university was there, right by us, at every step to provide us with all the tools and support necessary to combat these fears. Everyone, from our professors, hall directors, administration, accounting department to our building managers, has always been there for us when we needed them.
As we leave AUBG today, I could say that the hard part is over. That is simply not the case. We are yet to face so many challenges. But if there is one thing that can alleviate that fear, it is knowing that whatever you are doing, you are not alone. In the past 4 years, as part of the AUBG community, we have met people and established relationships that will last a lifetime. These people, who we call friends, will be by our side through all the obstacles we overcome in the future.
We are all familiar with the famous quote “If something doesn’t scare you, then it is not worth doing”.
So, class of 2023, go out there, find something that scares you, and conquer it!