As Valedictorian of Class 2017, I decided to share my speech with you. 🙂
Dear parents, siblings, family members, delegates from RIT, teachers, and last but certainly not least, my fellow graduates!
Welcome, and thank you all for coming and supporting us on our big day, as well as standing by our side during these past four years, helping us through it, and lastly, preparing us for our future.
Without you we wouldn’t be here today!
Today is the day, when our future begins. Congratulations to you, class of 2017, well done! Thinking back, these might be the best four years of our lives, don’t you think?
Over the past few years, we all have learned a lot of things. Not just from our beloved professors, who tried very hard to educate us on many different topics, but we learned a lot from each other too. Of course, I must mention Ljubica’s legendary notes, that created a bridge between us and our professors, making sure we were all on the same page.
All of you have inspired me and taught me many things over these past four years. Most importantly the fact that I have to be very loud if I want to be heard and that I should speak up more often.
Thank you all for allowing me to give this speech today, I am honored and at the same time a little bit intimidated too. This is a huge challenge for me personally, to stand in front of you all and try to say something meaningful, something that you will remember many years from now, and something that will hopefully inspire you.
The only true wisdom I can give you is what I have experienced in my life, and that was through the arts. It is something which all of us can find in ourselves. The beauty of it is that you don’t need to be a professional to be understood, you just have to try, and if you fail you have to try again. This formula is applicable for everything. No matter where you end up tomorrow, you just have to try, and if you fail, you have to try harder.
We all have dreams, some of us big, others small, but we all have something in mind that we would like to achieve in the future. We may not know yet how to, but it is there. It is that little voice in your head that constantly pushes you forward and encourages you to take the next big step in your life.
Arts, or in my case, it is dance. It taught me many things that you can’t necessarily learn in school, and that is how to be respectful and humble. Dance is something that was and always will be a part of my life. It pushes me to be better, in every aspect of my life, and it helps me to overcome the challenges too.
So what pushes you? What is it that makes you want to become a better person? Find that one single thing that motivates and makes you excited every day, then go for it!
There is often one thing standing between us and our dreams, and that is fear.
Fear of failing or not succeeding, or the fear of what others might think of our mistakes. In whatever form it may come, it is very important for us to understand that failure is not fatal, it is just another learning opportunity, and in many cases, it is failure that guides us to the right path. Failure is inevitable, it is impossible to avoid. We shouldn’t fear it, just embrace it, like we do with those random summer showers. They all pass, and once the sky clears again we all get another opportunity to try again.
Trying again is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
We all have something inside of us; I know it. Just don’t be afraid of it. It may be challenging and scary, but that is the point! Life is supposed to be challenging and scary, that’s how you grow!
Just think of how far we’ve come ever since that first day we walked into our first class, and now today sitting here. All the time that has passed from that first day to today, has shaped who we are. We all started out as different individuals, from different backgrounds, and all have been through different things, but still we all have the same power.
That power is our strength.
It doesn’t matter what others think of you or how they define you as a person; the only thing that matters is that you believe in who you are. Because, at the end of the day, it only matters what you think. You are the one in charge of your own life, and only you know what it is that you want deep down in your heart.
As Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
We all have the power and the potential to make a difference.
Today we still might fear failure and we are still uncertain about tomorrow, but don’t forget that only we have the courage to become the person we aim to be. Be brave enough to dare, but humble enough to care.
So, go for it! Whatever you might want, just go for it.
Four years have passed by very quickly, and now that we are stepping out into the real world the time will go by even quicker. Use it wisely. Don’t waste it. We only have this one life to make the most out of it. Be the person you can be proud of, so one day when you look back at your life you can honestly say that you are happy with who you are.
That is what I wish for all of us.
Thank you, and Congratulations, Class of 2017!
Please don’t copy it!