November 2016

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Graduating from university was both a celebratory and sobering moment. Completing one level of my tertiary education was wonderful. However, looking ahead, there is still a great deal left for me to accomplish and a lot of sacrifice and hard work that will be required.

The privilege that was presenting the valedictory address has not escaped me and indeed it was a gratifying moment for me. I was quite happy to make my family, friends, classmates, teachers, church and all the others that comprise my huge support system proud.

The journey of tertiary education is comparable to the stages of a flight: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have just come to the end of our course and have now arrived at our destination. Please prepare to step off the vessel.” The boarding period was that initial phase of enlistment which facilitated our arrival at this destination. The take-off was where our actual work began and was for many graduates, a rough period of adjustment. At cruising altitude we had become familiar and comfortable and had mastered many aspects of university life. It was during this period of the cruise however that turbulence tended to arise.

The timing, severity and duration of the issues that we faced varied greatly but we all encountered some resistance along the way. The descent and landing comprised the final stretch of the voyage at which the finish line was visible and “we could breathe a sigh of relief”. It is important to reflect upon these stages so that we do not forget what it took to accomplish this level of achievement. Reflection also serves as a reminder of our capacity to persist and endure as we face future obstacles and aspire to greater goals.

It is both a necessary and healthy practice to show gratitude to all the persons whose input paved the way for us to complete our course. For me, this team comprised of my parents (Curtis and Annestine Bain), siblings (Léel and Daniel Bain), friends, relatives, past and present teachers, UWI staff and my church. Most importantly I am also grateful to my Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, for all that He has done for me. Looking back reminds us that our accomplishment was not based solely on our own strength and helps us to remain humble and sober as we continue to strive towards excellence.

As I shared with the FHE (Faculty of Humanities and Education) Graduating Class of 2016, I believe that a key element of our personhood and humanity is service. I believe that as we continue to seek improvement for ourselves we must reach out to others, especially those in need. We should not be content with leading selfish lives in which we increase our knowledge and improve our economic status while ignoring the growing crises in our communities and nation. We must give back in whatever form we can.

I enjoy teaching and this is also my preferred method of service. Education affords us a great deal of social mobility. It is an important factor in a person escaping a cycle of poverty, crime and complacency. Assisting children in their academic and spiritual education therefore brings me great joy.

As I look to the future I aim to continue my pursuit of higher education. I dream of positively influencing lives and leading a well balanced life. I will seek to accomplish my dreams and helping others to do the same, all the while, looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of my faith.