The following is the transcript of the Response on Behalf of the Graduates, delivered by Patricia Angela Marie R. Razon (AEF, ’17) during the second day of the 178th Commencement Exercises held at the Philippine International Convention Center last February 25th:
“Thank you Dean Amie for the inspired introduction and thank you to the graduation board for the honor to speak on behalf of the graduates.
Chairperson of the Board of Trustees – Mr. Edgar Chua
University President – Bro. Raymund Suplido
University Chancellor – Dr. Gerry Janario
Signum Meriti Awardee – Mr. Rogelio Singson
De La Salle brothers
Esteemed faculty and staff
Dearest parents, guests
And fellow graduates of Batch 2017, good morning.
They say, “The brain is the most outstanding organ. It works for 24 hours, 365 days, right from your birth until you fall in love.”
‘Falling in love.’ How does one define these three words and do justice to its profound, poetic meaning? Maybe this is why our Facebook timeline is filled with articles from Thought Catalog, trying their very best to explain what it is and what it isn’t, and lest we forget, our friendly neighbor hugot that warns us what it’s like to be heartbroken.
Good morning everyone, my name is Sam Razon and I am a hopeful romantic—so much so that my favorite movies include Les Miserables (which I’ve watched 14 times), Pride and Prejudice, and Disney’s Frozen–each of which having a dramatic representation of love.
But it seems that despite what we currently perceive falling in love to be, we are currently and constantly changing its meaning. Gone are the days where falling in love is confined to a single, romantic definition–a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a lover. We now live in a time where we fall in love many times with different people, objects, hobbies, principles, and values. And honestly, what better time to fall in love with all things old and new than in college?
So here we come, the eager frosh about to enter college to witness the ride of our lives. And sure, college had its ups and downs, but along the way, every graduate sitting here today had found something to fall in love with. We may have fallen in love with the little things, we may have fallen in love with the right people, we may have fallen in love with our work. Some of us, only one, the lucky, all three. But as we raged on with spirits high, we changed the meaning of falling in love.
We’ve fallen in love with the little things. Who could ever forget our LAMBs welcoming us in LPEP, “Welcome to Lozol!” with the classic Lasallian accent? And of course, the ever famous Agno Bacsilog–what’s not to love about bacon smothered in cheese sauce and Knorr? We’ve fallen in love with the singing of our Alma Mater Hymn after cheering our hearts out for our athletes. We fell in love with the small, often unexpected and taken-for-granted kind of pleasure in life, the little things that will leave a lasting memory as we depart from college.
We’ve fallen in love with people. We’ve created and nurtured intimate relationships with the people around us. With all that is happening in the world, the election of world leaders with questionable morals, the twisting and turning of our law, war, poverty, hunger, it is too easy and convenient to give up on humanity and believe people are inherently evil. But then you remember these people who continue to bring out the best in you and in what life has to offer. As students, we are keenly aware that without these people, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today and where we will be tomorrow.
Thank God for our org mates, thesis mates, barkadas, who were with us through our highs and lows. Thank God for our professors who showed genuine care and effort. There are professors with outstanding PHDs but who no longer have the time to care. My professors were not of the kind–they were tough, they were critical, but they all genuinely cared. Thank God for our family. Our parents for support and love I cannot put into words. Thank you for being patient even if it seems like we can’t make up our minds, thank you for being kind even if we’re cranky because of lack of sleep. Thank you for making us fall in love with you more and more each day. We had fallen in love with people who inspire us to live a purposeful life and take a greater role in society.
In today’s tumultuous times, what’s great is the Lasallian youth falling in love with people, standing up for those causes that do not even benefit his or her own. We see the youth standing up for the LGBT community, the people of color, the people afflicted by mental disorders, the people who need the extra voices to be heard. We see the youth now fighting for those who fought this same battle 31 years ago today, even if they say we were not born to feel their pain. But that’s the beauty of falling in love: pain is shared and is resonated as we fight for those who cannot fight anymore.
And when we fall in love with the right people, we are challenged to create a life filled with meaning not only for ourselves.
We’ve fallen in love with our work. Yes, I’m talking about the smell of a freshly printed thesis or the 0.05 significance level after how many regressions. Perhaps even that accounting problem you were able to balance on your first try. To the scientists, that successful experiment you were able to do without blowing anything up. I’m sorry for the badly put examples, but you see, falling in love with our work isn’t as easy as we wish it could be.
In fact, before I fell in love with my course, my batch mates and I would jokingly cry in Perico’s and ask ourselves why on earth we chose to give ourselves a hard time because it seemed like no matter how hard we tried, it just got harder and harder. Over time we realized that this was the same reason we loved our course. We realized we would rather be mediocre in a sea of geniuses, because the same fire that melts butter, tempers steel. After all, we’re here today in this very moment–we all must’ve done something right.
The work we’ve fallen in love with can be the work you did for an internship, the work you did for our student government or your professional organization. This can even be your start-up, Bloemen food stall, or social enterprise. Maybe you fell in love while performing on stage, or on the court. But the common denominator with falling in love with our work is that it was never easy to begin with—but in the face of adversity, we made that decision (that seemed impossible at the moment) to swim when we were drowning.
That’s when the magic happens. Then your work becomes your passion, and your passion becomes your advocacy. Whether it’s something you realize in a classroom or in an org meeting, or even with your friends outside the four walls of our campus, you slowly start to figure out who you want to be, where you want to go, all because you chose to fall in love with the kind of work that scares you when you wake up each morning.
Ladies and gentlemen, after the 16 years of Lasallian education I was fortunate enough to receive, it’s easy to say that I’ve fallen in love with my alma mater. La Salle provided me with not just an education, but a fine lesson that in the process of falling in love with the little things, the right people, and our work, we slowly and unknowingly start to fall in love with ourselves.
But to fall in love with oneself seems to be a challenge for our generation, one that is branded as oversensitive, self-destructive, and insecure. Let me tell you, it is a challenge for all of us, no matter the academic ability, no matter what we have or haven’t accomplished, to accept our flaws and not be too hard on ourselves. Perhaps this is why self-actualization is at the summit of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is only when we’ve satisfied our basic needs, after all, that we slowly learn to accept ourselves.
But when we look back at the moments of failure and success, DLSU was always a beacon for us to become better people because it gave us the tools, blessed us with unforgettable experiences, and surrounded us with amazing people to fall in love with. There might always be that constant nag of doubt along the way, but as our thesis mentor once told us, it is always good to have a reasonable amount of self-doubt because it gives us the humility to say that, ‘I am a work in progress.’
So never compare yourself with others, but instead, compare yourself with who you were yesterday. Do you like the person you are turning into? Are you creating a life that feels good in the inside? My fellow graduates, it is high time to believe in what lies ahead and embrace the uncertainty of life.
Have faith, take the leap, and fall in love. Fall in love with the little things: take a step back, and look at all the blessings that surround you. Fall in love with people: learn from them, teach them, show them how much they mean to you. Fall in love with your work: strive for a purpose-filled life and create a positive impact through your craft. Finally, and most importantly, please fall in love with yourself: because given the chances of getting heartbroken, to fall in love with yourself definitely won’t hurt.
Thank you very much, and Animo La Salle!”