Valedictory Speech by Miss Vivian Lau, Graduate Representative of Class of 2016 (PM Session)

Good afternoon, my name is Vivian, and some of you may know me as Kaki. It’s my honor to be part of this celebration.

This might be out of your expectations, but today, I am going to share with you a journey of sadness and struggle. 

Standing at this grand finale of our four-year studies and looking back on the first day of our course, I can remember the welcoming words from our professor Remi. 

Back then, I took those words lightly, as I was thrilled by the fact that I eventually had survived six long years at secondary school 

‘Welcome to Hell’ he said!  It was a shock!

 I thought he was joking, but later on I could not deny it is the most accurate description of what we had been through. 

Previously, we had only faced strict tests and exams, which had clear standards and guidelines to follow. In other words, we were told ‘what’ and ‘how’ to do. We were following. 

It is, however, very different in the school of design. Here, we didn’t have textbooks to tell us what to memorise for the final exams, nor did we have past papers to look for exact answers.

Instead, we came here to create, to think and seek for answers and persuade others why our answers are the most appropriate ones.

You can estimate how long it takes you to revise a chapter, but you can barely calculate how long you need to come up with satisfying design concepts. 

We have all been through days of staying up all night long yet still feeling like we did nothing at all, and even started questioning whether we were ‘just tired or simply stupid?’ 

Later on I realised its just how life works. There are no standards and destinations.The day after I finished university, I felt relaxed, but also lost. 

So what now? I asked. 

Now there is no longer anyone who can tell me if what I am doing is correct, or if that is the best choice for my life. There is nothing to follow, no standards, and there are no more professors. 

I am literally on my own, to persuade myself, work with myself and maybe, to suffer from my own decisions later on. 

From primary school to secondary school, then to university, and now to work. At every stop I thought I reached a destination, yet, there is no such a thing. The journey itself is the destination. 

Along the journey, we struggled to progress, persist in our struggle, eventually reaching our goals, yet sadly realizing what it actually brings could be even more struggle. 

What should we do in this ambiguous and struggling journey without an end? What should we choose for ourselves when there is eventually nothing to be followed? 

We are not fortune tellers, we can never foresee our bad outcomes, yet we also cannot tell what we are missing if we just stop taking risks because of fear. 

In this endless journey, we simply know nothing. The only thing we can tell is whether we love what we are doing and enjoying the journey. 

Remember those days when we skipped meals with family, ditched friends gatherings and missed sleeping in our beds just to perfect our projects? 

Although not even knowing whether our designs were valuable to others, we still desired to deliver the best in us. 

It is this drive and passion that kept our eyes open through the struggle. 

Somehow, at the bottom of our hearts, we knew what we truly desired and what makes us happy. 

At the end that’s the point of everything right? 

At least, your choices will be those that you are passionate about and truly believe in. Then all the panic, sadness and struggle will all be worthwhile. 

What’s the point in making a living when “the living” isn’t even worth living? 

Please don't let your fear ground you. 

Yes, we do struggle. Yet struggle is the evidence of progression. 

The comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing grows there. 

First, on behalf of the graduates, I would like to thank all the parents for supporting what we were doing. 

You understood when we were absent at numerous dinners. You tolerated our emotions before deadlines. Yet I believe, all of us have become better and stronger individuals because of you. 

I would also like to thank our professors in always giving us the extra push we needed to struggle and progress. Thank you. 

Please allow me a personal moment. I am not great, I just have great family and great friends. I am blessed to have some of the most sweet, selfless, caring and supportive people in my life. 

Mom and dad, thank you for offering so much freedom in doing what I want to, supporting me throughout all the bad days. I love you and happy birthday dad! 

Thank you for all my irreplaceable friends, and special thanks to Kelly LAU, Cammy Sha, Stephanie Smith and Patrick Chow. Thank you for always knowing when something was wrong, fixing all my errors, and taking my business as if it were your own. Please never doubt yourselves, whatever grades you get, you are always my A++. 

Thank you to the parents of my great friends and classmates. I could never stand here without them. They are not good at expressing emotions, but please do know how much they love you. 

At last, it is easy to enjoy happiness, but what is truly challenging is how to deal with sadness, self-doubt and losing faith. 

Today, looking back, I guess I can smile and say to my professor Remi, that hell was tough training, but it wasn't so bad. 

Life is too short to hide in fear and procrastinate in comfort zones, let’s trust our instincts, embrace the struggle, and make this journey valuable. 

And most importantly, enjoy our journey and see where life will take us. 

Please give yourself a big round of applause. It’s your day. 

Thank you.