Dear Class of 2020,
Congratulations! Congratulations to ALL OF US, for the tremendous amount of work that we have put in to reach this point, and fortunately or not, to be able to graduate in these times.
I believe that we are a special class, – a historic class. How rare this is, that in the chronicles of academic traditions & commencement ceremonies, it is our class that won’t have one physically. It is undoubtedly, one of the most difficult periods in time, that the last few generations have faced universally across the world. Most parts of the world are at a standstill and we, being a part of the world are also ‘still,’ somehow. I hope the external stillness of the world at present is giving us time to pause, re-assess, find our inner stillness and courage to take worthy next steps.
The job opportunity amidst this crisis might be erratic and I feel extremely sorry for my fellows who had come to get this excellent education taking massive loans. The uncertainty of the employment scenario makes this a very trying time to graduate. Many of us come from extremely challenging backgrounds; from being a Syrian refugee, a first-generation graduate, being the child of a single parent, a person from an enormously disadvantaged minority or just how so many of us are from struggling, middle-class families. Education is the only leveller for many of us, – it is the only social justice that we can get or have access to. It will be a difficult time for our Class of 2020, but when have we shied away from difficulty?
The hope that I see through these cracks, is the resilience that we all have shown in our lives at different points. Reaching here wasn’t easy for any of us and I see that our cohort is fortunate to even be faced with this challenge – we have taken this upon ourselves and will not let it fall on others. Maybe the universe has given us one more test to face and like always, we will emerge stronger. We are together in this.
It is in these times of adversity that direction & leadership emerge – and I am certain that this phase will see something new come out, for each one of us. It might just give us a deeper calling or a pause to choose, that which is most important. This global calamity has thrown open the naked face of inequality, with millions surviving at the margins, losing their jobs and on the verge of starvation-led-death, with governments not owning up to the mess. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, has displayed the live picture of the world, it has revealed to us what is important and necessary. The world needs healing and it is on us to undo the social injustice done to millions of our fellow beings. Thus, it is now time to rethink what is important and non-negotiable for all and make it real.
The world needs compassion and love more than ever before and it looks at us with hope. This time calls for the romantic/the idealist in you – to be kept alive. The world has not become a better place by people who were practical but it has improved because there were dreamers like King, Gandhi, Teresa, Mandela…and now, maybe US! Maybe the darkness and the shadows are an opportunity for the Class of 2020, to find their light and shine, giving brightness to everything around! Congratulations, once again to the Class of 2020, our families & friends. We shall emerge stronger! For, WE ARE HOPE.
In Gratitude, Your fellow graduate & co-voyager on the path!