My Valedictory Speech

2-3 weeks ago, I was told that I was shortlisted to give valedictory speech. Fortunately, and unfortunately at the same time, I will not be giving the speech.

So, I'm going to post it here since it's not going to be used.

After three academic years, today is the culmination of all our efforts, determination and commitment that we have invested. Here we are. We are graduates.

While we savor our moment of accomplishment, let’s not forget how it all started and how we’ve got here. Reaching back in our memory, we can see mental images of our first day in Temasek Polytechnic: unfamiliar places, unknown faces and unaccustomed rules. This anesthetic of unfamiliarity wore off as we mustered the courage to make new friends, as we learnt to move from lectures to tutorials and as we understand everything a little more.

We’d have to thank our school and lecturers that made our journey possible. Many thanks for the various learning opportunities that we were given. Problem based learning is one example wherein independent research and understanding was encouraged. But who could forget the little voice within that went “Oh crap” when our lecturers informed us that we’re going PBL on this one. What about the enlightening experience that we’ve received through our student internship program. Having being exposed to real-life situations, our acquired on-job experiences and interactions at the workplace would be an invaluable asset to our future.

Besides gaining knowledge through the academics and practicals, I am sure we have all grown in character as well. Every instance can be a test of our character and in turn, move and shape us; Instances such as project discussions, competitions for CCA, community involvement, quizzes, exams or just a long relaxed chat with a group of friends. There are always ups and downs on any journey. Disappointments and failures occur and we learn to handle them a little better with the help of one’s friends or by one’s self. They, thus, become part of what we have come to be. Having reached here today is a testament to our achievements.

As apprentices of Science, we’re all going to travel our own paths in life. Some of us are going for further education, some of us will have to serve the country before continuing on our paths, and some of us will join the workforce as researchers, technicians or technologists and etc. Perhaps the current recession may be a subject for worry, but I believe we all have the potential to survive this. We can persevere.

Personally, I believe that the appetite for knowledge and the desire to learn is of importance in life. This may be also the very reason why some of us are even here in the first place. I would like to read an excerpt from a book titled Unweaving the Rainbow which is written by, my personal idol, Richard Dawkins.

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?”

To learn and to discover and to enjoy being part of the world in which we live. Using the knowledge which we have gained, we strive to build our own futures and collectively to better humanity. That would be my personal message to everyone.

Before I end my speech, I would like to express on behalf of us graduands our gratitude. To the school as a whole, thank you for the opportunities and for these three years well spent. To all our lecturers, our heartfelt appreciation for your patience and guidance in imparting us your knowledge and for going all those extra miles. To our parents, our deepest gratitude for your love and support. And most importantly, a sincere thanks to all of our friends for their company on this journey.

Dear graduates, may we all succeed in life.

Thank you.

Hah, someone might know who is the author of this blog now.