Valedictory address delivered by Zephanaiah Micah Esguerra, Magna Cum Laude:

 

 

Dean Arnold Elepaño, Engr. Bibiano Ramos, Dr. Arsenio Resurreccion, Asst. Professor Ma. Cristine Concepcion Ignacio, Institute Director and Department Chairs, Division Heads, faculty and staff, parents, and fellow graduates, a pleasant day to all of you! After years of hard work, hell weeks, endless days, and sleepless nights, we are finally here, torn between joy and uncertainty. We are here today to celebrate and honor the greatest milestone of our lives so far, and to embrace the beginning of a new chapter.

A few years ago, we were merely clueless but eager freshmen who had no idea what challenges lay before us. On the first day, we had the usual mixed feelings of excitement and fear. Our freshman year was a breeze of events involving introductions and adjustments. On our second year, we had our first real taste of engineering in the form of Ensc11, or more commonly known as “Onse”. Many of us had to sit in class and pretend to understand every word that came out of the instructor’s mouth. Compared to it, all prior subjects looked like child’s play. But with diligence and perseverance, we all passed, no matter how many semesters it took, or how many saints we called and prayed to.

On our third year, we started to feel as if we really were future engineers, as most of our subjects were AE, ChE, CE, EE, or IE courses. The remaining years were both very challenging and rewarding. These most difficult semesters of our lives made us doubt whether we were cut out for engineering. But it was thesis or practicum that was the ultimate deciding factor for graduation. Weeks before the deadline of submission of the manuscript, most of us were not completely sure of graduating on April 26. But we did not lose hope. For weeks, we got by with very little to zero hours of sleep. Students were saying, “ok nang di matulog, basta maka-graduate”, or “ang tulog nababawi, ang grades hindi”. Well, no matter how exhausting it was for us, and no matter how long it took, we are all here to recognize this Herculean feat of graduating from the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology. Now, we are more than ready to turn the page to the next chapter of our lives.

But before thinking about the future, we should first thank all those who helped us get to where we are today.

First and foremost, thank God for giving us wisdom, for guiding us every step of the way, and for providing us with the strength to keep going when all we really wanted to do was give up.

Let us also express a heartfelt thank you to our teachers for sharing with us not only their knowledge, but also their passion. They gave us a hard time and made us really work for our grades. It might have frustrated us at first when deadlines were scheduled on the same week, but these eventually brought out the best in us. Now, we are prepared to face the pressures and demands of the world outside the walls of the classroom.

To UP, for shaping us into who we are today, for providing us with the best education possible, for providing us not only a place to learn, but also a true home, and for teaching us that honor comes first before excellence.

We should not forget to thank our friends for the laughter, tears, and stories that we shared, for staying by our sides whenever we needed them, and for giving us pieces of advice, whether these were for problems in life or in school. This past few years would not have been as fun without them.

We should also be grateful to everyone who believed in us, for their words of encouragement that touched our hearts, and the many times that they made us have faith in ourselves againwhen we doubted our own capabilities. Thank also those who doubted us. We worked even harder to prove them wrong.

To our dear parents and our family, thank you for your unwavering support and trust. Thank you for making us smile when we needed it most, for assuring us that we can overcome all the obstacles and difficulties we encountered, and for simply being there for us. Words are never going to be enough to express how truly thankful we are.

We entered the university full of energy, ambition, and enthusiasm. Now, we leave with maturity, wisdom, and optimism.

When we leave our beloved Alma mater, we won’t be seating inside classrooms anymore, we won’t have a semestral break or a 2 month-summer break every year, nor will we be able to leave or go home when the professor does not come within a few minutes of the class. We will need to step outside the comfort zone of the classroom.

It will be introductions and adjustments all over again. But what’s good is that this is another beginning. If you were a consistent University of College Scholar, then prove that you are not only good at studying, but you can also excel in the workplace. If you think you were an average student, prove that you can be exceptional. If you barely made it to graduation, and took removal exams more often than not, then prove that grades don’t measure a person’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. Grades should not define us. We are equally opportuned to take new challenges and prove our worth.

Whatever the future holds, and whether we plan to go to Graduate School, come back here and teach, study for the board exams, or find a job right after graduation, we are ready for it. Be confident, be remarkable.

I end this speech by quoting Ralph Marston, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” Thank you and God bless.


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