A copy of the speech I gave as a graduating student during UBC’s Okanagan Convocation.
UBC (Okanagan campus)
Convocation Ceremony Speech
Date: June 10
Time: 3:00.00pm (Pacific Time)
Location: UBC’s Okanagan campus – Gymnasium
Speaker: Adam Goodwin
Start: following the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (first half of ceremony)
Length: 3 minutes (max)
Thank you Dr. Owram [or-rum].
Madam Chancellor, honoured guests, and fellow graduates.
As I was driving off campus late last night after being in the campus library all day finishing this reflection, I did something I have done so many times before. I casually looked into my rear-view mirror. What I saw last night was a beautiful, welcoming, and fabulous campus community. Looking into my rear-view mirror also made me think of the past four years of my days at UBC.
When I was told four years ago my UBC experience would be filled with the unexpected, what I didn’t expect was that for every plan we had before entering UBC… the goal of a 99% average, the undergrad research project that was a world-leading breakthrough, or the plans to be involved in every event and activity on campus… these plans for some may have materialized, but for many, our initial plans were replaced by these unmaterialistic things that turned out to be amazing.
The unexpected, the unplanned, the surprises over the past four years turned out to be an amazing adventurous journey of growth and discovery…. For some, this growth was physical thanks to the Freshman 15. But there’s the growth we can’t measure. How we discovered our independence, our growth in leading ourselves, others, organizations, communities, and countries, and our growth intellectually and in our critical thinking.
Not many of us expected to get a zero on that test when we filled in the letters “D” or “E” on the bubble sheet during that True/False exam. But even through these sudden speed bumps, we overcame obstacles and were able to apply lessons to make us better and stronger individuals.
In September we traveled from the four corners of Kelowna, of BC, Canada, and the world to meet for the first time within the confines of the four corners of this very gym.
What I didn’t expect after Create: New Student Orientation were the bonds that lasted the 4 years of my degree and that will last a lifetime. As a symbolic gift of these lifelong ties, the Class has placed a stone tablet for each and every proud alumnus who once worked and played at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
When we met in this gym during Create, we may have met inside this grand box. But as a member of the UBC community, we never let a box stop us from exploring the world through travels and expeditions. We look beyond the safe constraints of paradigms to form new ways to solve the world’s problems and issues, find new ways to connect with our fellow global citizens,and new ways to form amazing memories and experiences for both ourselves and others.
As the Class moves forward from here today… and what a day Convocation has turned out to be… some will say we are moving on. Yes, our formal education days may come to a close for most today. But today is merely the transition from UBC students to UBC Alumni…we are now students of society and the world.
Rear-view mirrors are used to see where we just came from and sometimes help us correct our path somewhat…sometimes we use them to ensure nothing comes from behind to knock us off our travels to our intended destination…and well sometimes we just use it to fix our hair.
But remember, to always look into the rear-view mirror to see the great distance you have travelled. And sometimes when you bring your eyes back to the direction you are traveling, you may just run into the unexpected.
Congratulations parents, staff, faculty, and most of all… graduates.
Edited for speaking clarity; not grammatical correctness.