To the class 2013, I celebrate you. It was like yesterday when you all left the comfort of your homes and flew thousands of miles to a place you weren’t so sure what you were up against. Despite the many bombings and killings of innocent souls in the north, which ofcourse was enough to have discouraged you from embarking on a journey that would forever change your life and make you a better person, you took that great risk not knowing what the future had for you. For some, you said to yourselves “I will make it through all of these.” Not knowing the path you will be traveling.
It is no doubt that you all have come to the end of “college” life and are about to start an entirely new life different from what you were used to. May I use this opportunity to remind you that it is not so much the destination as it is the lessons learnt along the way. We are trying so hard to get to the destination when infact the real message is in the journey. It is the things that we learn along the way that is the most beneficial to us. So may I ask: what lessons were you able to learn while you were still an undergraduate?
For some, coming to AUN was easy, but graduating from AUN was what they weren’t so sure of. It wasn’t an easy journey. I’m not talking about the high academic standard that is enough to make it difficult for a lackadaisical person to graduate neither am I talking about the many rules that each student had to live by, which when violated would lead to either suspension or expulsion from the university. No! No! What I’m talking about is those students who weren’t sure where the money for their next semester fees would come from; those students who were sent numerous mails threatening to be dropped from their classes if they didnt pay up their debt by “Friday.”; Those students who lived in uncertainty throughout their four years in AUN while professionally camouflaging the pain going on inside of them by smiling and hanging out with “friends”.
Today, those 8 words (I will make it through all of these) they said in faith has become a reality as they will now say, “I made it through all of these”
As you embark on yet another journey, may I advise you to stop gazing at where you have been and instead, start gazing at where you are headed. AUN was fun I know and saying goodbye can be difficult not at times but every time… it’s an experience one would want to have again and again and again but truth is, outside the walls of AUN is a place to look forward to. It can be scary to death and sometimes because of the fear of stepping out, it is easy to be caged into what “used to be” and be blinded to what ‘could be.” So, I say boldly to you, FEAR NOT for you were born for this moment.
Don’t limit yourself to how you came into AUN. You must embrace the fact that you are now a changed person. So stop seeing yourself with the eyes with which you saw yourself four years ago and start seeing yourself for who you are becoming.
This farewell won’t be complete if don’t celebrate those who couldn’t graduate with the class of 2013 not because of poor academic standing but because somehow, they couldn’t pay up their debt. It is important you know that you are no less than those graduating today. While you may still be saying to yourself “I will make it through all of these” I’m sure that someday you will look back at all you’ve been through and would say to yourself “I made it through all of these.”
Congratulation class of 2013… Go out and make your world a better place. Have the thinking of a champion