Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UIU Malaysia, Graduating Class of 2013. "What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does."

The beginning of a new chapter of our lives. Before we knew it, another year has ended. Four years of university life has officially concluded. We'll then walk our own paths, carve our own future. When we walked down the path accompanied by the bagpipe, when we turned our tassels to the left, when we screamed 'Go Peacocks!' at the end of the valedictorian speech. When the valedictorian quoted Albus Dumbledore and almost made me cry at her anecdote. It shall always be etched into our memories. 

8th December 2013. Mine and my mates' commencement was scheduled for the afternoon session.

I guess two words could describe this moment: pride and happiness.

I am exceptionally proud to call myself a member of the vibrant gang of the graduating Class of 2013. I know I've officially ended my studies in August, but the commencement is held once a year. So, it was a major celebration for us. 

I would've cried, but I didn't. 

It felt final, but I won't let it.

Because we'll always stay connected to one another (Note: please reserve yumcha sessions!)

I could write about many things. How I've already got a job come January, how I spend my months post-college, pre-commencement working my butt off, etc etc. But I won't talk about those.

I will, however, write about our memories, about our day, about our lives.

The day before commencement, I attended the alumni reunion (Presidential Reception), mainly because I actually graduated in summer. The day prior to that, I attended the ADP annual dinner. Those were, to put it simply, the finals days of university life.

Things went a wee bit crazy at the ADP Annual Dinner 2013
So here's another photobomber. =P
The beautiful emcee, Phoebe.  You dressed up! ^^

I don't know what went into our minds...

Walking down that path during commencement made me wonder: In 20 years, nay 5 years from now, how will we look back at our lives, what do we think of the times we've spent together, was there any point of being where we were?

My friend, Joshua, rightly put it this way about commencement:
We're lucky because we could. 

Many others aren't as fortunate as us, to graduate and leave college with jobs. Many of us can't afford the extra penny to pay for fees to attend college, to attend commencement ceremonies that celebrate their achievements.

We're lucky. Indeed we are.

For so many of us, we were told we couldn't do it. Only a select few believed in us - and guess what? We did it.

Lending Mr. Ismael Betancourt's words about learning: it doesn't end here (I put it here in my own words), not with just finishing a Bachelor's degree. (Wait 'till you do a Master or PhD - I certainly will!)

I believe so too.

Learning is a continuous process. You learn not only from academic institutions, but also from life itself.

Those 4 years have taught me so many things. From philosophy to research, from a rather shy person to a more outspoken one, from trudging the halls of academia alone to making meaningful friends. Most importantly, the role that support can bring from various sources. The meaning of standing up again when you've fallen so deep. The meaning of finding hope and happiness where you could and where it matters.

Dear friends,
I believe our journey doesn't end here. I believe our friendship doesn't end here.

The time we've spent will always leave a mark in our lives.

I would always remember proofreading papers, I would always remember the peers who were always so supportive and funny (and did such great jobs!), I will remember Joshua who pats my head occasionally and I'll never forget the people who always tried to fatten me up! You know who you all are!

[Insert more picture here once I get their permission! Haha]
Glad it made you laugh, Gita!
By dad's request, I've removed the family photos. Sorry.

And who could resist the macarons and cakes by this lovely girl? - my sis, ahem ahem

Oh and this girl (Fifi) stayed up all night with me while I worked on my final paper.

Remember how we raced to that 8am class? 
Remember how sleepy we were once evening class ended at 8pm?
All those sleepless nights for fundraising campaigns?
Sitting on the floor outside the exam halls, arriving much earlier to cram something last minute in hopes it'll stick?
Recording and editing videos for our assignments?
Rushing to the printers to get our newspaper/newsletter/reports printed and bound on time?
Double-checking, triple-checking group assignments?
Feeling nervous before our oral presentations/viva?
Getting funny participants and bemoaning the mountain of paper on the desk?
Getting nervous and cursing it when there's a pop quiz?
Eating in between classes, nervously checking the time...
Dreading a 14/20 for mid-terms despite it all...
And there are so much more that can be listed here...

Those are memories we will re-visit and we can't take back.

Also, I will always remember the encouraging instructors. It's a humbling experience to be under your guidance and tutelage. We went from knowing zero to actually knowing something. For that, we thank you.

By the way, Ms. Sam, thank you for leading PSYCH Club when you could, you guided us to your best ability despite your busy schedule.

And it is such irony that the book I was moved to pick post-commencement was this:

Cecilia Ahern's The Gift
Because not only does it sum up time as something to be shared, most importantly, it is time that we can't take back. We can't rewind the clock and redo our lives. If you could, what would you have done better?

As for right now, all that comes into my mind is this:
We are all connected -one action, even a small one, will trigger a course that we'll never predict. Sometimes one small deed seems trivial because you did it not for the rewards, yet you'll be reminded of it when someone else comes and bestows almost similar deeds to you. With time, we cannot bestow, we cannot give as a gift to another person like a pretty box with a tied bow as Cecilia Ahern wrote. It can, however, be shared. Things like going to the orphanage together, eating lunch/brunch/dinner/brunch together, watching a movie together, spending the day at the park together, or perhaps, browsing for books at the local bookstore together. Those are the times one should cherish.

A job can fire you, but guess what, families can too. Great words, Ms. Ahern. My parents, my siblings, my relatives, they are all my immediate families. However, the graduating class of 2013 and the rest of UIU community are also my family. We'll always be connected.

Cecilia Ahern, The Gift (2009),
"A lesson finds the common denominator and links us all together, like a chain. At the end of the chain dangles a clock, and on the face of the clock the passing of time is registered...each second makes its mark on every single person's life; comes and then goes, quietly disappearing without fanfare..."
So as the passage of time trickles when we often pay nary an attention to it, here's a quote from J.K. Rowling (through Rubeus Hagrid) about facing our future:
"What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does."  ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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