Convocation 2013

Lessons from my Convocation Ceremony

Last month, many students graduated from Canada’s universities and colleges. Convocation should be a joyous time, where students celebrate their years of hard work with their families and embark on exciting careers. However,  there have been many news reports about high youth unemployment rates all over the world showering doom and gloom on this year’s graduates.

My convocation ceremony from Algonquin College’s public relations program was held on Tuesday, July 25. Radio announcer Steve Madely, who delivered the convocation address to my class of graduates and received an honorary degree from the college, told us there is no better time to graduate.

Convocation 2013

My mom, grandma, and I.

Madely started off his address by telling us that he didn’t graduate from a post-secondary institution, but he worked hard and was in the right place at the right time. He shared stories from the early days in his career, when he was known as Skipper Steve, that demonstrated how it paid off when he went above and beyond to get a story. He went on to call my generation the ‘microchip generation,’ who understand and use new technologies as effortlessly and naturally as riding a bicycle – skills that retiring workers like him want.

Madely also shared advice from several people who influenced his life. “From my mother, slow down. Take time to smell the flowers, the cedars, and the great aromas of wonderful cooking. Inhale life. From my wife . . . live life with purpose. Dedicate yourself to your family, you friends, your community. Push harder. Stay positive. From my father, leave the campsite better, cleaner, neater than when you found it. Leave your community, your country, your world a bit better because you were here. And question rules. Challenge rules that don’t make sense to you. Invention challenges rules. Be inventors.”

His convocation address was inspiring and very touching. Madely lost his wife a few weeks ago, and it brought tears to my eyes when he talked about her. You can watch his full address below.

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