by Grace Mullins (Bachelor of Engineering) who gave this address during her graduation ceremony.
Can you hear the butterflies? The ones fluttering feverishly in my tummy? The ones reminding me that I am addressing a large crowd of highly intelligent people and that this scares me. This evening ladies and gentlemen, graduates and esteemed guests I would like to share with you one insight which has come to the forefront during my experiences at this fine institution of learning. This insight is that fear is my friend. Fear represents the boundary of what we know we are capable of and presents an opportunity to prove that we are capable of more.
My fellow graduates, what we have all achieved today is by no mean a small feat. I’m sure that each of you can recall many occasions where you had to take a step outside your comfort zone and found you were capable of more than you knew. Sometimes taking that step meant leaping head first into heart pounding, palm sweating fear and other times it meant cautiously tiptoeing just beyond the edge of feeling comfortable. For me, these tiptoes, steps and leaps have shaped the young professional I am today. Having delivered numerous presentations to some of the most unforgiving audiences – my peers, academics and high school students – I know how my body responds to the pressure of a spotlight and a microphone. I know that the flutter of butterflies in my tummy subsides and if I am well prepared my time in the limelight flies by so quickly.
For all of us, the challenges have been the different and the rewards equally varied.
At the end of my second year I took an environmental science course in Nepal. Having never travelled to Asia before I recall feeling terrified that I hadn’t packed adequately for the unfamiliar country I was about to explore. I was so anxious that I drove myself to fretful tears en route to the airport. Perhaps it was an overreaction but the feeling of dread and trepidation was stronger than my excitement, to the point that I contemplated not boarding the plane. That trip to Nepal was incredible and has fuelled my appetite for travel in Asia. The view of glistening white Himalayan Mountains lit up by the orange sunset I will never forget. And the close friendships I formed during the trip remain strong today. So it’s true that life’s biggest rewards do lie on the other side of what scares us most.
Today, every one of us has proven not only are we are intelligent and dedicated, but that we are also resilient – a characteristic which will help us continue ahead where others would give up. No matter what field of study you graduate from today your unique Griffith experience has gifted you with a toolkit of skills with which you can shape for yourself the future you want to live. It’s just like they say, when you know more, you can do more.
So, to conclude with the wisdom of Dr Seuss – “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”