As you may have heard, finally I graduated as a Ph.D. The school asked me to give a speech as the graduates’ representative (a.k.a. the valedictorian) a few days before the degree conferment ceremony. So that, I wrote a short speech inspired by the struggle that I and my friends experienced while doing intense research in the moment when the COVID-19 pandemic first came and happened.
Here is the speech I gave during the ceremony.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Suzumi Takeo. Also, fellow directors and auditors.
President of Shibaura Institute of Technology, Professor Yamada Jun.
Deans. Professors. Staffs. Family members. Honorable guests. And all graduates.
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for the opportunity.
My name is Fauzan. I am from Indonesia, and I studied in Department of Architecture with my supervisor, Prof. Shinozaki Michihiko. It is an honor to be here with all of you. Today is your day. A day to be grateful for your academic achievements. A day when you never thought that this moment would come into your life. You made it. We made it. Congratulations!
In the middle of this celebration, let’s take a moment to reflect on what happened. The past few years have been very difficult for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives, including our academic lives. Some of us have had to change our research topics. Some of us must think hard because we cannot conduct research normally. Or even collect data due to the health protocol, travel restrictions, and border closures.
Fortunately, now we all have adapted to the situation. So, we could make ourselves and our academic journey survive. Whatever results you achieve today, the most important thing is that we have finished what we started. We said, “Yes, we can!” in our first year. Today, we can proudly say, “Yes, we did!”.
Once we step out of this university, the future awaits us. A future that is fragile, highly dynamic, and full of uncertainties. Political, economic, social, climate change and health crisis issues have become multidimensional global threats. It is our responsibility as an educated society to see threats as challenges. Challenges become opportunities. Opportunities to build a better future. We should believe that with every hardship comes ease.
For those who will return to your home country, build your country with your knowledge. For those who will continue their life in Japan, keep doing your best. Indeed, the best people are those who benefit others.
I want to close this speech by saying thank you to all professors, academic staff, laboratory members, security guards, cafeteria staff, and everyone who has supported us every day. Thank you for your support and dedication.
Minnasan, hontoni arigatou gozaimashita.