Good afternoon, dear members of the faculty, administration, members of the Board of Trustees, parents and friends, honored guests, and, most importantly, the Class of 2019! I feel very honored to be here today, first of all, graduating at this magnificent Commencement ceremony, but also delivering my speech in front of all of you. I will be even more proud of myself if this speech inspires you at least a tiny bit. So bear with me and, hopefully, some of my words can make you smile, laugh or maybe even cry, who knows?
All those four years of fun, struggle, fighting our fears, and trying to make sense of what was happening in our lives led us to this day. We deserved this little moment of fame being here and coming on this stage in front of everyone. So I would like to ask every graduate to smile. I know it is hot, your shoes are not comfy and the hat is making your head heavy. But this is the moment that we fought for. Feel proud of yourself and know that you deserved it. Today is the day when we celebrate ourselves. Congratulations, Class of 2019!
Recently I have been asked what advice I would give to freshmen. And I answered that the biggest advice I could give to my freshman self is “Do not be afraid”. Don’t be afraid of trying new things, applying to all those clubs, talking to people you see for the first time, taking advantage of opportunities, and challenging yourself. I think that is what every freshman should hear as a word of support before starting this new stage of their lives as university students.
Now, when I think about what would be beneficial for the graduates to hear, I think of the same words: “Do not be afraid!” Indeed, all of us now are starting the next page of our book called “Life” and moving forward into the very much exciting adult world. Those four years have slipped by very fast and apparently now is the time to move on again. We are about to step into the world full of opportunities and offers but the abundance of those is not only exciting but also scary. And truly, as a graduate, those are the words I need right now: “Don’t be afraid.” Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to apply for a job of your dreams, don’t be afraid to pursue another degree, don’t be afraid to step into new relationships, don’t be afraid to go on the journey of your life and don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.
But, we all know that being a part of the AUBG community is not about being scared or intimidated by something. For four years, we have continuously proven that we definitely do not get scared so easily. Six-hour-long exams, 9 am classes after a night out, presenting ourselves at the job fair, turnitin.com not loading at 11:58 pm, learning a semester’s worth of Statistics in one night. We have embraced and fought all the challenges successfully and that is why today we are all here, so cute, dressed up in these oversized gowns and silly square caps on our heads.
So do not be afraid to walk out there in the big world and find what you want to do, what you want to be and fight for it. And it is ok if you do not really know what to do. It is ok to try and it is completely ok to fail. AUBG gave us knowledge, experience, and resources that we can use in the future to figure things out. We should not be afraid of giving it a try, we should break the external limitations and never be fooled by the limitations in our own heads. We have the power and knowledge to make our dreams come true.
Today we do not only celebrate the graduating class. We should also celebrate the people who helped us become who we are. Look around. Those people are sitting there in the far back, taking pictures of you and feeling nervous just like they felt when you were born. For them, not only these four years but probably past twenty-and-something years flew by with a speed of light. Do not forget to thank them today. Tell them that this was also their achievement. And let’s celebrate it together. So on the behalf of the Class of 2019, dear parents and families, thank you for your continuous support and for being there whenever we needed you.
Also, thank you to our amazing faculty, staff, and administration. You were there beyond your working hours, helping the students who asked many questions, the students who did not know what they were doing, and those students who never showed up for classes. And you still kept patient. We should all indeed celebrate your patience. And your input into our future. Once again, thank you!
And on this sentimental note, I would also like to thank our friends. I have heard people say that the friends you make in college are to stay with you forever. And I sincerely hope for that to be true. All of us no matter our nationality, background, social status, and preferences found someone here who could understand us. We found someone who could support us, make fun of our silly mistakes, tap on our shoulders when we felt empty, and share our moments of happiness and the moments when we preferred to stay in silence. So let’s thank our friends, best friends, roommates, second roommates, and fellow club members, all those who made these four years truly unforgettable and worthy. Thank you, friends!
And as we leave today this wonderful place that became home for us and will join other communities and enter new great places, let’s always remember and cherish the memories we have made here. Let’s always look back at our time at AUBG with big smiles on our faces. And as we are to go on many adventures and discoveries, let’s not forget what this place taught us. Let’s never be afraid. Let’s try to make an impact in our new communities, let’s try to share our knowledge there, stay true to ourselves and show our greatness to the rest of the world. I would like to end my speech with a well-known quote from Dr. Seuss: “You’re off to great places, Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting… So get on your way!” Thank you! Congratulations and best of luck, Class of 2019!