“Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Marchant, Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honour to have been asked to speak on behalf of everyone graduating here tonight, to express our sincerest gratitude to all at the University of Hertfordshire for your part in our success.
I’m encouraged to see a writer receive tonight’s honorary award. Writing is the career I hope to pursue, and I am inspired by Dr Marchant’s achievements.
Dr. Marchant has enjoyed a fantastic career so far, but I’m sure even he has experienced his share of ups and downs on the path to success. In the six months since finishing a demanding three years, some of us may have already experienced the best and the worst of what graduates can expect on the road ahead. Life beyond university is often described by students as “the outside world”. The outside world may prove to be a fairly unforgiving place at first. We’re all aware of the current financial climate, as are employers, who are being cautious – largely favouring candidates with experience, as apposed to graduates fresh out of uni. But we mustn’t be disheartened – opportunities are out there, and we must be willing to rise to the challenge – a skill we have surely perfected in the course of our studies.
We may encounter any number of professional, and indeed, personal obstacles on our journeys, but we must remember what brought us to UH to begin with: our belief in ourselves. Without that, we would not be here tonight. Over the past three years, the tutors and staff of UH have nurtured that belief and guided us to this moment – a moment that seemed so far in the future and almost unattainable to begin with. And yet, we made it – we’re all here.
If there is one thing this university has taught me, it’s that nothing is impossible. Some of the fondest memories I’ll be taking with me are from my Thursday morning New Media Publishing classes, for example. When we were learning Web Design, digital code seemed like a language none of us would ever master; and yet, in a matter of weeks, we were each sat in the library building websites in our own time, without help or supervision. That’s the magic of UH – that transformation that occurs when you realise you had it in you all along.
I can personally say that I arrived at UH a lost and broken soul, and emerged a strong, confident and whole person. I am very proud to be standing here today, as we all should be; because we are all transformed for the better; our degrees are our tickets to greatness, opening doors previously closed to us.
With patience and perseverance, we will all find our purpose and place in the outside world, and we will all have the University of Hertfordshire to thank. So, put simply: thank you, to all of you, for what you have done for us, and what you have helped us to do for ourselves. May we all enjoy every success and the very best of luck going forward. Vice-Chancellor: thank you for receiving us tonight – the graduates of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities, Law and Education.
To watch the graduation ceremony, which took place on the evening of the 16th of November 2011 at St Albans Abbey, go to http://clio.herts.ac.uk/ceremonies/20111116eve.cfm – you will require RealPlayer to view the video clip, available to download for free, online at http://uk.real.com/realplayer .