September 10, 2019

Be ready to embrace challenges

September 10, 2019

“I hope that when we leave Fulbright, we all are prepared with a mind, a heart, and a voice to protect whatever we believe in, to protect our identity, our rights, our families and friends, our country and our planet”, Student Nguyen Hoang Nam Anh said in her remarks on behalf of Class 2023.

Good morning everyone,

On behalf of the Class of 2023, I’d like to welcome you all to the Convocation Ceremony of Fulbright University Vietnam.

Undergraduates, how have you been this summer?

Ex-Bridge students, have you had a good time recovering from all the ups and downs, and also, the endless circles?

For me, I had so many great plans for the break. The first thing I did after Bridge was sleeping, as if I had never slept before, then reading Harry Potter, relishing the thought of becoming a super-talented wizard who can save the world, until the last few days suffering all sorts of anxieties and sleeplessness writing this speech, in fear that you guys may fall asleep in any moment. Very happy holidays.

The 7 weeks of Bridge are 7-weeks of testing our endurance and limits. Remember the time when we struggled reading tons of research papers for next-class discussion, then decided it would be better for time management to read only the abstract.

Remember the time when our mind was occupied by all different kinds of hypothesis and explanations for our research, and millions ways to test each hypothesis. I cannot remember how many times I called my daddy to say: “Dad, I don’t want to study anymore. Let’s go back to our hometown and take care of the cows instead.”

Nguyen Hoang Nam Anh – Class of 2023

There is no simple right answer written on any textbooks; they are tricky but intriguing real-life problems, probably that’s the reason why we couldn’t help thinking about them even when we went to the toilet.

Perhaps the sweetest thing within those struggles is that we always know we’re not alone. The teachers and friends are always there to support us through thick and thins. No matter what idea we think of, even the weirdest one, the teachers treat it with utmost respect and appreciation.

Never have we heard an idea rejected by the faculty; instead, the teachers try their hardest to their best knowledge to suggest directions and resources for us to explore and find the answer on our own.

Besides the role of teachers, I would like to mention the role of our friends. Here at Fulbright, we experienced many firsts together: the first lunchbreak at Auchan, the first dinner cooking in our dorm, the first party in Bui Vien.

Each of us, coming from different walks of life and towns across Vietnam, brings our own accents, cultures and stories with us not only to the campus, but also our dorm. We learn and thrive from this rich diversity. During those academic struggles, we have each other. It was kind of evil pleasures we were not the only one to be burn out.

We create joyful dialogues from our distinct senses of humor and styles of communication just to make our friend less stressed in her project. In the upcoming academic year, there will be a lot more struggles, stresses and messes, but we are ready to embrace them all, because one, we know we are not alone, and two, we know that at the end of the road, we will always something truly meaningful and useful to our life and career.

So, in the first year to come, I have two challenges for you. First, take the opportunity of diverse courses in our curriculum to try and find your interests, without biases against any subjects because they won’t earn you handsome money or they are irrelevant to your intended majors.

No one can guarantee the future, like Steve Jobs once said: “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” Also, take time to love and to be loved, to support and to be supported.

Also Steve Jobs said: “God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.”

I hope that when we leave Fulbright, we all are prepared with a mind, a heart, and a voice to protect whatever we believe in, to protect our identity, our rights, our families and friends, our country and our planet.

We can become true wizards of this Muggles world.

Thank you.

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