Dear colleagues, friends and family,
I am deeply honored to get the opportunity to be here and stand in front of you today.I would like to talk with you and reflect if I may, on all we have been through together and what the future might hold for us.
Today we celebrate and reflect. We are receiving a master’s degree after traveling the world for 11 months. As my mother would say, “No matter how you look at it, that is no easy feat.” And you know as I think about it, she was right; the deadlines, the research, the papers, the presentations, the traveling, the socializing at local drinking establishments (to build a network for the future!). We have come a long way and they are right. This program isn’t for everyone but I am very glad it was for the people sitting in front of me today.
So now that we are finally finished, what can we take away from these global experiences together?
1. Communication is very important. We have heard it before but I will say it again. No one can read your mind so don’t be shocked if they fail to do so. Speak up!
2. There is clearly NOT more than 24 hours in a day. Make sure you use every hour and utilize your time effectively.
3. Success is in the eye of the beholder. As Ellen DeGeneres said in a commencement speech, “Usually if you are in a robe at this time in the day you have simply given up!” However, right now as I look at all of you I would have to say this is a very successful group that I see right now.
4. Don’t completely disconnect. Even though some of us enjoy the idea of being disconnected from technology or cell phones while in the program, remember in some situations some form of technology will keep you and others sane in a crisis situation.
5. No matter where you end up you will always have a friend. And they will be ready and willing to drop everything to see you again.
At this point in a speech, motivation has usually been covered, so I will do my best to motivate you now! We leave this program with a new set of tools. When we started this program we were thrown into a group of individuals that we didn’t know. Outside the program, we may have not taken the time to get to know these individuals because of the lack of common ground. However, we learned how to interact with different personalities and how to handle different situations (some good and some not so much). But more over we learned how to be a positive contributing member of society as future policy makers, development specialists, aid workers, and leaders of the corporate world.
Believe it or not you now have a master’s degree and with this degree a whole new realm of possibilities are now open for you to explore. The faculty and staff of Webster University have guided us and given us all the information we need and now it is up to us to use it. I believe we will have an active role, a hand in helping shape the global world as it continues to grow and change because good or bad we are the Globals and that is what we do best!
So as I leave you today, I would like you to reflect on our time in this program and our time together. We can do this. We are ready to be the next generation of influential members of the ever-changing international community. Throughout this program, our family and friends have given us the wisdom, strength and support to do what we needed to do to finish this program. To our families who have given support and guidance throughout our time in this program, we thank you. To our friends who have listened to our problems as we travel the world, we thank you. And to the faculty and staff at Webster University, we thank you for getting us ready to face the world with the knowledge needed for us to try and make a difference. So remember with hard work, determination, and belief in yourself, like the completion of this program, anything is possible.
About the author
Jeremy M. Shafer is a recent 2012 graduate of the Webster Global International Relations Program. Before Webster he attained an undergraduate degree in foreign languages and criminology, which focused on the cross-cultural areas of crime and deviation. Jeremy has worked as an addiction counselor at an adult detox center in Missouri before transferring to work with drug addicted adolescent boys in Illinois. Jeremy now looks forward to moving ahead with his career and becoming part of the international relations’ global community.
You can contact Shafer at firstname.lastname@example.org