It’s done. I shared my pearls of wisdom with the 2010 graduating class from Sheridan College on Wednesday. It was quite the gathering with over 300 students graduating from the ECE program, plus their family and friends.
I can’t tell you how many times I wrote and re-wrote that speech. I would write it, rehearse it in my head as I went to sleep and then when I woke in the morning, decide, no, it still needed some fine-tuning.
I also asked around to find out what Convocation speeches usually cover. The main feedback was that they are boring. Definitely didn’t want to go there.
In the end I used a combination of previous versions, and added as I went along at the actual event. I narrowed it down to four pieces of advice – any more than that and I thought I would lose their attention, and being menopausal I didn’t want to stretch my memory either!
What did I say?
1. Take risks – stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s a lesson learned, not a mistake.
2. Volunteer – you gain as much as you give, if not more
3. Your attitude determines your altitude. Life happens and while you can’t control everything, you can control how you react.
4. Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you. Make sure to take time for yourself.
I ended by reading a few verses from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
My thanks to those of you who sent in tips and advice to share with the students. I tried to incorporate them where I could.
And the response – I got a lot of positive feedback from teachers, parents and students, including one young man who has attended all the convocations so far this year and thought my speech was by far the best. So all in all – a worthwhile experience for everyone.