Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My valedictory speech - Royal Thimphu College

Honorable chief guest His Lordship Lyonpo Sonam Tobgay, venerable Tshugla Lopen Rinpoche, distinguished guest of honor the president of Weaton Collehge, all invited guests, members of RTC staff and faculty, parents, and my dear friends. Welcome to the sixth graduation day at Royal Thimphu College.   
I really like this quote by Aldous Huxley. “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.” Three years, six semesters, we’ve had our own chances at making things happen, and have had things happen to us. There were happiness, disappointments, dejection, guilt, anxiety, frustration, all sorts of things.  I value every bit of experience, beautiful or ugly. They are what made a stronger, motivated, resilient and patient version of me. They are what shaped my perspective. I learned to always be as broad minded as I can. I learned to let go, of people as well as self-righteousness. I saw that my normal isn’t necessarily someone else’s normal. I look at the world through different lenses, and realize how normal some of my weird is for someone else.
Most of you know me as this quirky, talkative, hyper-active, and super enthusiastic person. You might think they’d come easily to me. I’ll let you in on a secret; I’ve had to tone a lot of that energy down in the past. College, however, was a place that allowed me to be my true self. I did not feel like I shouldn’t raise my hand and voice out my opinion because it might be disrespectful to the teacher. I could be this dramatic and animated self. It was okay to pop out of the dreary background. It was okay to be different. I’m no longer afraid to be myself, to be original, and creative.
I’ve had several international friends tell me that they noticed most Bhutanese girls have low self-esteem. When I first walked into this campus, I was just another super self-conscious Bhutanese girl. I wasn’t cute enough, I wasn’t cool enough, I wasn’t tall enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, I wasn’t fair enough, I wasn’t smart enough. As young people, we often feel like we have to be perfect, and we feel this need to please everyone. I wasn’t any different. The cruelest thing I did to myself was compare myself with others, because when I did that, I always compared my worst with their best, and my inside with their outside. I didn’t know what was going on in their life, what battle they were fighting. In the end, I’d end up getting hurt, and feeling like people took me for granted. I wasn’t being very kind to myself.  
That was a wake-up call. I discovered that I was stronger than I thought. I couldn’t let people disrespect me and get away with it just because I was a woman and I was expected to forgive and endure. I no longer allowed those superficial standardized appearances and life styles, and Instagram filters con me in to believing I was inadequate. After everything, all the insecurities and self-loathing and heartbreaks, I kicked my self-esteem high, threw my shoulders back, and dared to dream. I learned to make the best of what I had because we can’t have everything. That wouldn’t be an interesting world. Most importantly, I learned to take risks, and not hide away inside my comfort zone. Twenty years from now, I’d love to tell or write a remarkable success story about how I defied my fears, followed my heart, and became someone who doesn’t go ughh at Mondays. Or look at the price tags while shopping, really.
Today, I am an independent woman, and I always, always keep my standards high, and will never settle for anything even remotely close to average. This ‘me’ is not changing any time soon. Or ever. This one goes especially for the ladies. Girls, let’s not allow someone to make us believe we’re less, because we’re not. We could never be. You and I, we deserve so much better.  
I’ve had good times, and bad times, and I couldn’t be more delighted at how much I’ve grown. I am taking these experiences and lessons with me when I leave here so they’ll help me make better decisions in the future. This is obviously an emotional time for all of us. Nostalgia is fine I suppose, but don’t be sad. I like the idea of leaving one place, and venturing into another. No matter how unpromising the latter may sound. You should be excited. Life’s only just beginning. Okay reality check, it’s going to be tough after college. Are we intimidated? Yesss, but it’s also not brave if you’re not afraid in the first place. Are we ready to graduate and greet life in the face? Double yes. Last, but never the least, dream big, my dear friends. We’re too young to settle. Life’s too short to conform.  

Thank you

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From "Die Mitte der Welt"

It's one of those hot, sky-blue days that taste of vanilla ice cream and summer and future, when your heart beats faster for no apparent reason, and when you're prepared to swear any oath that friendships never end.

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