First of all, congratulations to each and every one of you in having achieved this
goal in your life!!!!
All of us are aware of the fact that each of you has traveled a different road to
get to this point. For some, this road has been short; for others, it has been very
long. For some, this road has been smooth, while, for others, it has been very rough.
However, you have all made it and that is what is important. In other words, do not
use all your energies looking back. Look forward.
I am keenly aware of your desire for me to finish as soon as possible so you can climb
these steps, come up to the platform, and receive your degree diploma. But, I crave
your indulgence. My talk will be short but, I hope, I will give you something you
will find valuable.
Let me tell you what I will not do in this Address.
I will not attempt to be profound. By this, I mean I will not comment on the uses
and limits of knowledge, or contribute to the discussion on the purpose(s) of college
education, or debate the merits of vocation versus profession, or discuss the problems
of access to college education, or weigh in on the payoff of a college degree. Obviously,
all of these issues are important and germane. However, this is not the time or the
place to air them.
I will not give you advice---I am sure that, in the past few months, you have received
plenty of advice------from your parents, your family members, your neighbors, leaders
of your faith community, and so on.
I have told you what I will not do. So, let me tell you what I will do. I will encourage
you to be pragmatic.
Let me use a maritime metaphor to make my point about pragmatism.
Think of yourself as a ship that has just been launched onto the sea of life. You
have no idea of the nature, the frequency, and the severity of the storms that lie
ahead. Storms in your personal life, storms in your professional life, storms in every
aspect of your life. We know one incontestable thing about these storms. We have no
control as to when they will occur. However, we do have control over the ship. Therefore,
my message to you is: strengthen your ship. Keep every facet of your ship in an excellent
state. You can do so through maintenance of the basic trilogy of life: your mind,
your body, and your spirit.
Maintain your mind through continuous education. Keep current not only in your field
of work but in every other---in politics, economics, medicine, music, art, technology,
law, history, geography, religion, etc. Be informed about everything going on in
Maintain your body by proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep (no need
to “pull all-nighters” now).
Maintain your spirit by meditation and development of positive attitude to life. This
positive attitude means seeing barriers or setbacks as mountains to be scaled and
not as permanent obstacles.
Graduates, from this day on, do not dwell on how hard it has been to achieve your
goals. Rather, each day, say, “In spite of the many obstacles in my way, I have
already achieved a lot and will go to even more success”.
Once again, congratulations!!! Go ahead and make your mark in this world!!!
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