Every Fletcher Commencement features speeches by two graduating students who have been selected by their peers. On Sunday, we heard from MIB graduate Poomsanti Wairith from Thailand, and MALD graduate Joshua Gross. Both of their speeches included words of reflection and inspiration, simultaneously humorous and serious. I asked if I could include a sample from each speech in the blog. First to speak was Poom:
Do you still remember the first week, the orientation? I was constantly amazed and humbled. With classmates who speak multiple languages, who have worked abroad extensively, and who have ambitious goals to “save the world,” I knew from the start that, “Wow! This will be the best two-year learning experience in my life.” And you know what? My time here has proved I was not wrong at all.
My first team was composed of a Thai economist, an American air-force veteran, a Singaporean navy captain, an Indian software engineer, and myself, an accountant. This became a common theme with all my teams throughout the past two years. Working with such diverse groups has not only allowed me to gain broader and different perspectives, but also enabled me to learn about different cultures and how to work within a highly diverse environment. For example, did you know that not everyone puts fish sauce in everything they eat? I did not!
This two-year experience has been extremely satisfying for me. I came to Fletcher for the promise of a high quality and relevant education, an actively involved intellectual community, the opportunity to develop my personal and professional skills, and to make life-long friendships. I received all of that.
Next up was Josh. He started with an apology to the Office of Career Services for failing to perfect his “elevator speech.” You know — the pitch you give to a potential employer when you happen to catch the same elevator. He explained:
I have suffered from two years of elevator speech writer’s block. And to be honest, I don’t think any of us can explain WHO WE ARE in 30 seconds. We have too many interests, too many doubts, and too many plans to stuff into that awkward elevator ride….So I’m going to do you all a favor. I will attempt to compose an elevator speech for Fletcher. It will be an elevator speech for all of us, collectively, the MALDS, MIBs, LLMs, GMAPs, MAs, PhDs and MAHAs, one and all.
Josh then described how he boiled his experience and understanding of Fletcher into a simple answer, one that will serve future generations of students well.
“So, Fletcher, tell me about yourself…”
We are Fletcher. We doubt. We question. We Change Our Minds.
We are Fletcher. Nothing is black and white. Bring on the grey.
We are Fletcher. We are not strangers to sacrifice.
We are Fletcher. Our friendships have no borders.
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