2018 Convocation Speech

June 4, 2018, 2 p.m.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Faculty of Global and Community Studies
Faculty of Education, Health and Human Development

My dear fellow students, faculty, friends and well-wishers. My name is Suragini Ravindran and I would like to begin by acknowledging that Capilano University is on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including Tsleil-Watuth, Squamish, shíshálh, Lil'Wat, and Musqueam Nations.

Thank you all for being here with us to celebrate this very significant milestone in our lives. Many of you have been with us on this journey over the past several months and I do want you to know that this is as much your milestone as it is ours. This is as much your moment as it is mine.

I also want to take a minute to use this opportunity to speak before you to really understand what is it that makes graduating from school or university such a milestone?

Why is it such a significant moment that calls for celebration and pride?

I think the answer to this may be in the exercise of trying to map out personal growth. One of the hardest things to quantify or pinpoint are moments of change; of growth; of self-realization. One can always evaluate one's material success by looking at a bank statement or evaluate one's career by tracking bonuses and promotions, but how does one track real, personal growth?

It calls for introspection. It calls for realizing moments where you draw the best out of yourself no matter what the obstacle. I believe this is why graduation is important. It helps you track moments of growth, inspiration and aspiration. It helps you value opportunity and be grateful for it. The act of being in school calls for being open-minded, being disciplined, being focused, being humble enough to ask for help and being independent enough to look for answers. It calls for being brave enough to allow oneself to be tested. It calls for growth.

This conversation I am having with all of you today is a moment for me to share my own story of personal growth with you. I do hope that it helps you recall and retrace your own prized moments of personal growth.

When I came to this beautiful country over a decade ago, I had not imagined of having so much opportunity for personal growth. I've received more than my share of it and for that I am very grateful. Capilano University has presented me with a space where I have seen myself grow and be nourished intellectually and emotionally. The last two years on this wonderful campus, amid the picturesque environment, amid my supportive educators and amid new friends, have helped me realize and value how precious and how significant my life is and can be.

I was quite nervous to step into an education system that was unknown to me. But my amazing cohort, my faculty and other students on campus, took me along with them on this joyful ride where learning became interesting, challenging and fun. Going back to school became an enriching experience for me every day.

Becoming a student once again, gave me a new-found purpose and passion.

Before I conclude, I would like to thank all those who have been a part of this journey. God almighty, my family – my pillar of strength, my mentors, my friends, my dance teacher – Shiamak Davar who not only gave me dance as a medium to express myself but also introduced me to the joy of giving back to others for what I have received. I would like to send out a special thank you to the universe for giving me success and failures, for giving me opportunities to see the direction I am headed in today.

And I would like to give all my fellow graduates here a big thumbs up and a pat on the back for a job well done. I would like for them to remember their moments of growth and gratitude. May we create a wave of gratitude that sweeps across and touches the lives of everyone we meet. May we take our learning and put it to good use to make a difference. And finally, may today be one of many, many milestones in our lives that we have yet to reach. I may have a long journey ahead of me, but I stand here proud and say... My life is good!

Thank you all very much!

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