Victor Hugo, in his highly-acclaimed work, Les Miserables, wrote, “The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the fainthearted, it is unknown; but for the valiant, it is ideal.”
My journey as a business student has undoubtedly encompassed these three stages. In moments of weakness, I found myself believing that perhaps my dreams are unattainable. In moments when I feel so incompetent and unable to stand against the challenges, I felt clueless as to whether I am still headed in the right direction or not. Despite this, God has always blessed me with a lot of people who made my five-year journey as meaningful as possible. Those years built the lion-heart in me and I was able to dream the ideal knowing that if all else fail, at least I would have landed on a spot closer to what I aimed.
As things began to unfold, I realized that what I was given was even better than what I aimed. I would like to accentuate that I have never spent any of my graduation ceremonies in this manner, that is, I never actually dared to dream about being an honour as great as giving a valedictory address for I have always been an average student. This being so, I feel that I have to speak the language of our common experience. In a business context, common experience is the gold reserve which confers an exchange value on the currency which words are; without this reserve of shared experiences, all our pronouncements are checks drawn on insufficient funds. This is generally built from our collective tales of conquests and defeat in the most tempestuous expedition towards this momentous day.
Perhaps, most, if not all, of us still remember our first day in CBAA. At one point in time we were eager, yet somehow clueless, individuals willing to make a difference. Most of us probably felt intimidated because being enrolled in one of the most prestigious colleges in the Institute entails not only the honour but the responsibility to live up to the tradition of excellence our College has strived to uphold throughout the years. In my case, however, the pressure came from four things; first, from the aforementioned; second, from my course; third, from my classmates who are great achievers on their own; and fourth, from my utter cluelessness. If someone would ask me why I took up BS Accountancy in the first place, the only thing I could say in response is that I scanned our dictionary, looked up what CPA means and I kind of liked the meaning. My decision may have lacked a sufficient basis for judgment, but I believe that I am not alone in this. Most of us took shaky little steps towards finally deciding on which path to take for the future and it is in taking a step while unable to see what lays beyond do we measure one’s courage.
The story of our college life can be read from a lens of struggle. We carry with us our individual and shared narratives of endeavour. We all went through the rigorous processes intended to make only the fittest survive. We felt heartbroken by the mere knowledge that a couple of our companions and friends could not take on the journey any longer as they were compelled to choose a different path. Along with the sadness, we all felt the fear for losing the privilege to continue the journey ourselves. Passing our subjects was hard and finding the motivation to study and do our best despite the adversities surrounding us was even harder. We can never really quantify the sacrifices both we and the people who supported us shed. We have been constantly tested, tossed into realms of great uncertainty and left to pit our wits and will against all the odds. The fruits we now harvest cost far more than the countless number of sleepless nights, bottomless caffeine and incessant haemorrhages. We all battled against pessimisms, hopelessness and discouragements. In short, we all struggled to wear our togas today. Indeed, our graduation is not only a ritualization of academic victory; it is also a jubilation of our triumph of over four or five years of struggle. Hence, my fellow graduates, allow me to call each and every one of you a survivor.
To be called a graduate of the MSU-IIT College of Business Administration and Accountancy means that we are all equipped with the knowledge and values a starting business professional must possess. While at one point in time we could be likened to griffins mastering the art of being kings of all creatures, we are now the full-pledged symbols of power we were all trained to become. Because griffins are mythical creatures thought to guard priceless treasures and possessions, let us all remember to continue to uphold our commitment towards excellence and in doing so; let us not forget that our mentors have always emphasized the true value of ethics for it is notable that the recent improprieties of the business world threaten to tarnish our noble profession. Let us remember that though we, as griffins, protect the treasures of our stakeholders; the greatest treasure we are all bound to protect is our ethical values.
With this, I believe that we, the graduating class of 2015, are now ready to try out the wings which our mentors together with the support of Institute have honed for years now. We are all CBAA Griffins and the sky is not, and will never be, our limit; it is, rather, our home. Let us continue to learn and strengthen our wings and we can all soar to greater heights through internationalization. And in all the paths we shall pave in the future, let us not forget that MSU-IIT and CBAA, as our home, initially paved the way for us and made everything possible.
Before, I end my speech; allow me to thank the people who, in one way or another, strengthened my griffin wings.
To our God and Saviour, thank you for being my endless source of strength and motivation.
To my parents and siblings, thank you for your love, support and understanding. Everything I have achieved is for you;
To my teachers in CBAA most especially to my mentors in the Accountancy Department, thank you for making me feel at home in CBAA and for encouraging me to believe in myself. I would not have unleashed my potential had I not been trained by highly competent educators;
To my friends, thank you for always being there for me and for comforting me whenever I feel unsure about a lot of things;
And to my dear batchmates, the ARIVA Ronins, thank you for being good companions all throughout this five-year journey. I would never have survived had I not been surrounded with very cheerful, determined and positive people.
Together, let us continue to be valiant and make the future our ideal. Soar high, griffins!