Speech by Graduate Representative
Melissa Lim Li Yan , Bachelor of Human Resource Management, S R Nathan School of Human Development
Adjunct Professor Ang Hak Seng, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Mr. Stephen Lee, Chancellor of SUSS,
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SUSS,
Distinguished guests, fellow graduands, ladies and gentlemen,
A very good morning to all of you. My name is Melissa and I am from the very first batch of the full time HRM programme of SUSS. It a great honour to be standing here today before the S R Nathan School of Human Development representing the Class of 2019.
I vividly remember the last time I graduated from polytechnic 5 years ago, then making a seemingly unpopular choice to work when all my friends were starting their freshman year looking like they got it all together. After my gap year, I learned that I have a keen interest in Human Capital, so I applied for the first local full-time HRM degree offered by SUSS. I thought to myself, I have a related diploma and a year’s worth of relevant experience, I am sure there is no reason for me to be rejected, right? So I applied, attended the 4-hour long assessments with full confidence, only receive an email to inform me that I was put on the waiting list. Thankfully, I was later accepted and I am grateful for the pathway that was granted for me to excel in what I am passionate about.
In retrospect, I believe that every phase of my life had its time, place and purpose. What I shared was my own story of the pivotal phases that brought me to where I am today. I am sure that all of you seated here will have your own version of your story to tell. Allow me to share three takeaways from my personal SUSS journey.
There is no one single metric of success (Head) - Success is a multifaceted notion that cannot be linearly defined by grades. Success is measured way beyond the walls of our seminar rooms and examination halls, but to the totality of a learning environment that helps students develop skills to create solutions for increasingly complex problems. Today we see many large corporations looking less at the paper qualifications and more at the skills. Learning textbook facts and regurgitating them to attain a perfect score for finals alone will not help you develop the skills that are critical to your success. At the end of the day, none of you will remember 100% of the content that was taught in seminars. Even if you do, they might be obsolete tomorrow, or maybe even 10 minutes from now. But what you will remember is the effort you invested to pursue excellence in SUSS, and that spirit of excellence will sustain you through today’s VUCA world.
It takes a village to raise a child (Heart) - Growing up I had to rely on organizations that could extend financial assistance to get by. Also, in my years in SUSS, I was very fortunate to have people, especially staff in the Office of Career Development, who invested time and energy to groom me. Every single one of them made up my village and raised me to be who I am today. If it wasn’t for them, I would never have the opportunity, or to even be able to afford to complete several internship and educational stints in Korea, China and Israel. I now understand that it takes more than just the family unit and the government to form a village - it involves every single one of us. You could also be that village to the minority, the environment, to those who are unfairly discriminated, to the marginalized and more. I hope how I benefited from my village will inspire you to be that village for the next generation.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime (Habit) - Last month, at our inaugural SUSS Ministerial Forum, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talked about the need to develop a habit of continual learning. Our world today evolves so much faster than before and will only get increasingly competitive. We must invest in our learning, or we may find ourselves falling way behind. Today, the best thing you can take away from a University is not what you learn. But rather, it’s about learning how to learn, which is essentially the nurturing of a spirit of lifelong learning, the core spirit of SUSS, where every graduate will learn to develop a curious mind. Just as in the words of Walt Disney, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”, and not “Curiosity kills the cat”.
Now, I would like to say a few words of thanks. Firstly, I would like to thank all my friends that stuck together through the wee hours of the night to meet deadlines, as well as those who inspire me with your grit and passion in pursuing your dreams. I would also like to thank all my dedicated Professors and university staff for committing their time to guide and groom us. Above all, I would like to thank my family for supporting my decisions, as well as my significant other who had always been there for me in every step of the way. Thank you for being my greatest pillar of strength and emotional support.
To all of our loved ones here today, on the behalf of the Class of 2019, thank you. On this note, graduates, may I now invite all of you to please rise and join me to face your loved ones.
[Pause for graduates to rise]
This day would not have been made possible without the unconditional love and support they have showered us with over all these years. Let’s express our utmost appreciation to them by giving them our greatest and warmest round of applause.
[Lead the applause by starting the clapping]
Thank you graduates. Please be seated.
Once again, to all my fellow graduands, congratulations. We made it!