2018 Convocation Speech

June 4, 2018, 10 a.m.
Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts

Good morning graduates, family members, friends, faculty, humans on planet Earth. Thank you for coming here to celebrate the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. To my fellow graduates, congratulations on coming this far. Whether you shoot video, create props, play trombone, animate characters, design logos, or sing in the shower, you should all be proud of yourselves. Our time at Capilano has made us better artists – better creators – but more importantly, it has made us better people.

Before I started my studies at Capilano, I knew how to work like a machine, but I didn't know how to be human. Because my self-worth was reliant on external achievements, I used to view life as a cynical numbers game of performance and rank, as if each day was just another test I had to get an A on. And yet, it didn't really matter how many As I got – I still felt insignificant because people weren't supportive of my dreams of becoming a professional illustrator.

As adults, we might hear things like, "You're not good enough. You're never going to amount to anything." But if we practise empathy, if we think of walking up to a 3-year-old child who is scribbling with crayons, we would not put them down. We would nurture them. A mentor would say, "Wow! It looks like you love drawing cats. Can I draw some with you? We could create a beautiful world together."

I want to thank you, the people I've met through Capilano, for your unconditional support and mentorship. We all deserve to be loved, regardless of what we do or do not achieve. When our self-worth is not reliant on our achievements, we are no longer driven by shame or fear of failure. Instead, we are driven by our love of what we do.

It has taken me a while to believe in my own future, but now that I do, I can easily believe in all of our futures. I think we're going to be great. Actually, I think we're already great. As long as we treat each other, and ourselves, with empathy and respect, we can tackle whatever this big bad world throws at us. Good luck out there, my fellow graduates, and thank you for listening.

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