The finish line
There were plenty of heartfelt felicitations and positive affirmations at one of the most highly anticipated events of the year at SIT – the university’s year-end graduation ceremony.
Over 1,300 guests and 344 graduates attended the event which was held on 26 November at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre. The graduands comprised students from SIT’s overseas university partners: Newcastle University, Technical University of Munich, University of Glasgow, DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Manchester, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), The Glasgow School of Art Singapore (GSA), Wheelock College Singapore, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Notably, the customary parting words of wisdom by the guests-of-honour succinctly captured the mercurial nature of the globalised world and its challenges.
In his morning address, Ng Yat Chung, Chairman, Board of Trustees, SIT, congratulated the graduates on crossing the academic finishing line. He also highlighted one of the hallmarks of the SIT alumnus: courage.
“You are prepared to be different, to try out new opportunities,” he said in his speech. “This indicates a resilience of character and a willingness to get out of the comfort zone and challenge status quo. These are admirable qualities which would put you in good stead as you start your careers.”
By contrast, guest-of-honour, Rachel Ng, Board of Trustees, SIT, emphasised the need for adaptability during her afternoon address. She said: “You are no stranger to this SIT spirit because some years back, when you chose SIT to pursue your degree, you had shown that you are far-sighted individuals. It is clear that you are different in your thinking and your approach to solutions.”
“Change is a new normal,” Ng added. “While SIT has equipped you with the necessary skills, you would need to apply these skills at your work place, and continually learn and adapt in the fast-changing environment where change is the norm.”
Valedictorian Sheik Ahmad, who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering with First Class Honours, also had a few tips for his fellow alumni. While
SIT has equipped the graduates with the crucial skills to thrive in the industry, what was key was perseverance, he said; “We are hungry for success and if we believe in our abilities, we will definitely make our mark.”
The ceremony was also a time for the graduates to look back on their SIT years as video montages capturing the highlights of the past academic year flashed on the giant overhead screens.
For Jahangier s/o Abusalih, Jahangier, who graduated from the Bachelors of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering from Newcastle University, the graduation ceremony marked a cathartic moment in a highly demanding academic journey. “The biggest highlight for me was in knowing that I had made my parents proud. The smiles on their faces made all the stress, late nights and sacrifices worth it,” he revealed.
Wunny Zaw, who delivered an impassioned speech in the morning, helped the audience relive vicariously the highs and lows during his two years at GSA. “I remember stepping in for the first time into the studio, and struggling to get our papers to print before getting into class,” recalled the student who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Interior Design. “Getting in [to GSA] was only the easy part; I have never felt more tired, exhausted or frantic, in my whole life.”
Nur Izdihar Binte Mohamed Aron, who graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at the Wheelock College Singapore, also recalled the time when almost half of her cohort fell ill during their overseas immersion programme in Boston, US. “We worked like crazy to keep each other’s spirits up,” she revealed to the audience about how her cohort had overcome the ordeal through camaraderie. “We laughed together, cried together, worked together.”
In closing, she affirmed with a forward-looking statement, one which was greeted with thunderous applause: “Let’s now embark on our next adventure and embrace whatever comes to us!”