September 30, 2017

Graduating students, Class of 2017 share thoughts at Commencement

September 30, 2017

First of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program for organizing this meaningful ceremony. Also, I would like to thank my classmates for having me here to represent the whole class and share our thoughts

There is a saying that goes: "Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey". For me, my journey with the Fulbright school for the last 2 years will be the most beautiful and enlightened memories of my life.

At the Fulbright School we are nurtured with up-to-date knowledge, mind-opened thinking, learning to push the intellectual envelop, and inheriting values of humanity characterized by the school. It is here where we learnt from our dedicated lecturers, who are also our great mentors. It is here where we share and felt fellowship of classmates who come from different parts of Vietnam. And most importantly, it is here where I myself transform to become a better person, more mature, more purposeful.

I remember the first two in the 10 economics principles that say "there are always trade-offs. The cost of something is what you give up to get it". As true as it can be, I am sure many of my classmates here would agree that we have traded so many things in the last 2 years for this day.

For some the trade-off might be the time they should have been spent with their spouses, children or parents. For others, it is the geographic distance that would kill any relationships, as out of sight, out of mind. It can also be forgoing job offers or promotions that they had always dreamed of.

For me, it was just prior to my wedding last year that I was put to the limit. I took 5 days off from the school, but 3 individual assignments and 2 group assignments turned my holiday into FETP nightmare.

The night before the wedding day, I stayed up until 3 AM to finish all the tasks before the horible deadline of 8:20AM. In that very moment, I realized that I can push the envelop of me. All of these trade-offs were accepted for the desire of intellectual thriving at FETP.

After 2 years, today, we are proud to say that we have made the right decision. The degree we got today is just invaluable. FETP has showed us the real values that persist through the time. They are integrity, discipline, humanity and fairness.

Not only being a delightful hub for study and research, Fulbright is also a big home where all brothers and sisters across the country gather and make friends. Although we are not family members, we were as close as siblings. On this boat, I met friends that I admired, I met friends who were talented and worked hard. Together, we have shared joy and sadness, going through ups and downs. All of these memories will be kept in our heart for the rest of our lives.

Today marks the completion of our difficult yet colorful journey in FETP. We, ordinary people have completed an extraordinary course. At the same time, we have to keep in mind that the real world out there might be different from what we have learnt. Now, we have to perform our responsibilities to the society where poverty and deprivation still exist. Having returned to work for 2 months after FETP, I see myself full of confidence at work. When facing challenges, I choose to cope with them rather than avoiding, and work them out til the end. In stead of thinking for myself, I choose to live larger.

President Barack Obama once said " Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek". We are proud of what we have been through, but we are eager to enter the next chapter of our lives, an uneasy process of individual intergration into the society.

Being the last students of FETP and a part of its inspiring history, I personally feel proud and honor. What FETP has achieved in the last 20 years was admirable, but what FUV is striving for is even greater. Constructed on the solid foundation of FETP, with its humane and noble mission, strong determination and profound experience of the whole team, I strongly believe that FUV will become one of the best universities and help to re-shape the higher education in Vietnam.

Last but not least, on behalf of MPP8 students, I would like to express our heart-felt thanks to all lecturers, faculty's members and other staffs who have been supporting us. I would like to thank the Government of Vietnam and the United States for their generous sponsorships for the last 2 decades in creating an advanced academic world for us.

Let me use Professor Jim Riddle's message to end this speech "Life is a river, and you are now riding its strongest current. I wish you guys an interesting and far reaching adventure in the river of your life".

Thank you very much.

Nguyen Hoang Ngoc Linh, and Nguyen Thi Hong Dung

MPP8 students