Xiaolin (Lynn) Huang MBA graduate: 2012 Valedictorian Speech
Good afternoon, Chairman Kim, President Endicott, Dean Jun, Professors, staff, parents, friends, and fellow graduates. I feel deeply honored and grateful to stand here as the MBA valedictorian for the 2012 graduating class.
First of all, I would like to say congratulations to all my fellow graduates! We made it! I know how much we can accomplish in just one night—especially when a paper is due the next day, or how we can turn a semester’s worth of lessons into one week during final exams. We survived! Congratulations!
Today is a day of celebration, to celebrate all the hard work that got us to this point, receiving the diploma from SolBridge. Today is also a day of thanks, to thank all the people that supported us to get here, the professors who taught us, the faculties who supported us, the friends who held our hands, the special ones who dried our tears, and the most importantly, our parents and family who have been unconditionally supporting us in all ways.
I would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to, Dr. Rao Kowtha—I can never thank you enough for pushing us to work so hard and for how much I have enjoyed your class. Mrs. Kowtha, thank you for all the nice memories we have shared together and for always be there for me whenever I needed your help and advice. I am going to miss you so much! Dr. Sing Huang, you are like a book that we can never learn enough from you. Dr. Leonard, thank you for being such a nice boss to me; Deborah, thank you for all your support and hard work; Dr. Daniel Kim and Dr. Jens Graff, the kindest professors at SolBridge in my eyes; Dr. Dawn Davies, you are the coolest; Ms. Mihae Nahm, thank you for all your assistance and dedication; Ms. Park and Ms. Lorenzo, it has been so nice to work with you; Tyler, Charlie, Mr. Mendoza, Mr. Miller, thanks for all your help.
And my dear friends, you know who you are and forgive me that I don’t have time to thank all of you. I also want to give special thanks to the special ones. Liza, thanks for being my spiritual mentor and I miss you. Saijing and Xuyan, I cannot imagine my life in Korea without you. Bin, as you told me the biggest achievement you have made at SolBridge is meeting me. I want to tell you “Ditto” and thank you for being in my life! Last but not the least, my parents, they are sitting right there but can’t understand a single word I am saying.
Today, we are sitting here with our gowns and caps, and also with mixed feelings, proud of ourselves for having made it through college, sad to leave our friends and favorite professors, and feeling anxiety of entering the real world, which may be quite different from school. I want to tell you, my friends, fear no more. Either to be a passive victim of circumstances, or be the active hero of our own lives, the choice is ours, always. So, don’t wait for things to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Surely, we will inevitably make mistakes or fail. It’s OK. Just keep in mind that you are not perfect and no one is. Learn from the mistakes and do better. Rest if you feel tired, but, don’t quit. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Listen to your heart. We can Google for an answer for assignments, for a friend, and for a job. But we cannot Google to find what’s in our heart and the passion that lifts us skyward. Many times, I was confused, lost, and crying for answers. I asked suggestions and guidance from professors, professionals, and fiends. The funny thing is most of them gave almost the same answer, “Listen to your heart and you will find the answer is right there.”
You may have heard the speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford many times, but I would like to share with you my favorite quotes at the end of my speech: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
In the end, I wish all of you the best luck, to achieve greater success. Please allow me to end my speech with the definition of success by Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said success is:
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a little better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.”
Thank you, and congratulations!