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Memoirs of a Technical Girl -Graduation Speech-

Updated on June 5, 2011

Memoirs of a technical girl !!!

Now Im the kind of person who, when an instructor tells you that you're elected to do a valedictorian speech, gets way too excited and actually drafts one and I thought I would post it here to laugh at it years from now when I get too excited yet about another one -perhaps a commencement speech-. Though knowing how dynamic my ideas and beliefs are, I doubt that referring to it would do any good.

Anyways, below are all the semi normal ideas that swirled inside my head and came out to produce the following draft:

President Irine, members of SAIT Polytechnic, and my fellow graduates I would like to start by thanking you. Not only am I honored to speak before you today but thrilled to finally seize the opportunity to speak before my classmates without having laptops hiding their faces. The fact that no matter how boring or irrelevant my speech is, there are no devices to tempt you and no popups to distract you is rather reliving. Today I would like to share with you 3 lessons I have learned in this place.

My first 2 lessons were in my 1st year at SAIT and though it took almost 365 days I believe I finally got it.

I remember when I first came here, I wanted to embrace the Canadian experience to its fullest. I was 19 at the time, very task oriented. I had a list of accomplishments to achieve by the age of 20 to satisfy the short term goals. To me 20 was more like a milestone and I wasn't about to compromise a single task. Little did I know that those aspirations would soon micromanage my life. Mom's friends used to think that she had 3-4 daughters instead of 2. They always heard about the girl in Canada, the girl who wants to master French by the age of 20, the one who wanted to excel at school, the one in the book club, or the one remotely working overseas by waking up at night to take advantage of time difference, the one who wanted to learn politics, religion and the one who fed on sociology books yet spent so little time with actual people. And finally the one who wanted to be healthy yet stressed herself if things -GOD Forbid- weren't crossed of her list by the age of 20 which by her definition is 2 decades of life. 1 decade for childhood and the other decade for compiling and actually achieving the short term list which should ultimately lead to achieving yet another long term list.

Interior of the Pantheon
Interior of the Pantheon
Hopefully my next trip ;-) Without a Laptop ;-)
Hopefully my next trip ;-) Without a Laptop ;-)

Each time I found an opportunity at SAIT I would say "It's like going to Rome without seeing the pantheon". Only to me everything was some sort of a pantheon worth seeing or doing.

I remember taking my hardware book to the horseback riding trip. People were looking @ me awkwardly but it wasn't until now that I have realized that taking my book to such a place was like taking your laptop in the butt end of a gondola in Venice and not expecting the gondolier to pathetically stare at you.

Now, here comes the twist at SAIT. I met instructors who managed to find the time to chit chat with their students; professors whose main purpose in life wasn't to grab more knowledge or even squeeze more knowledge into their students' heads. But rather comprehended knowledge as a tool to help reach a mission and not the other way round. I met cooperative students, whose main purpose wasn't to excel over others but rather to cooperate with their peers. I remember one who had such pride that most of his class was graduating with honours in a society where excelling over others is a critical measurement of success.

Yet, there I was a single young girl almost isolated due to what I refereed to as "lack of time". Now, the reason I am mentioning this is because I am positive that 100% of you are and will remain over achievers in one way or another and I have seen a lot of grumpy students over 3.96 GPAs to believe otherwise. Not to mention the coffee indulgence and the “I could have done better” attitude when half the encyclopedia is already mapped into your heads.

And to you, I promise that not micro managing and multitasking your life would feel a lot better than scratching an item of a list. In a matter of fact, giving myself some time to breathe in my 2nd year at SAIT allowed me to put the right precise yet flexible aspirations on the list. Yeah, I still have a list ;-)

By my favourite poet 'Robert Frost'
By my favourite poet 'Robert Frost'
Or Judge me all you want, but at least keep the verdict between you & me ...
Or Judge me all you want, but at least keep the verdict between you & me ...

SAIT showed me that we all seek the exact same roads and we forget that it is the “Roads Not Taken” where we are most needed. In other words, finding a job this week, this month or even year is NOT, what will make or break you. And let it be a testimony that I have finally learned my lesson, that I have decided to decline any job offers I have received or will receive to spend uninterrupted time with my beloved ones this summer.

Now this leads me to the most important lesson I have learned and is still learning for it is still finding it's path to my practices. I say the most important, because only with this lesson was I able to reach the other ones. The lesson was to spare others any judgement. We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions yet others by their actions. Not the fairest equation, is it?

In our tendency to judge or even worse, fear of judgement we end up taking the roads that have been taken the most. To name an example, we judge those who quit yet sometimes quitting takes a lot more courage than carrying on with something you don't truly believe in. After all, my favorite poet Robert Frost, Steve Jobs and Bill gates have one thing in common, you guessed it “quitting”.

Personally, I have learned that the art of giving would be to give others the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, my philosophy in a nutshell, stop micromanaging your life, try to enjoy failures for a change. Enjoying failures is a perfect combination to keep you from judging others.

Finally mommy who will probably find a dozen errors in this speech, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here today so for both my parents I would like to say thank you for allowing me to be the person that I am today. I owe it all to you Mom. 

Thank you =)


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