July 28, 2017, by Diana Chee
Graduation Speech by Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham
A very good afternoon to Professor Nick Miles, OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Nottingham; Professor Graham Kendall, CEO, Provost of University Of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of Nottingham, esteemed members of the faculty, distinguished guests, fellow graduates.
Dear Class of 2017 – Congratulations! You made it.
Today is your day. A special, momentous day to celebrate your hard work and effort.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham and exactly one year ago I was just like you. Sitting in a hall alongside my course mates, taking a lot of selfies and pictures – before, during and after the ceremony, feeling proud that after four years I am finally done.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science. I have been actively involved in numerous environmental related initiatives when I was still studying and continued on to work in the field of sustainability. Currently, I am attached to the communications arm for Malaysia at EXPO2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan – an international green growth exposition with the theme, “Future Energy”.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the amazing years I had at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.
With that being said, thank you UNMC for having me here today.
Dear graduates, do you still remember your first day here in Nottingham?
I know I do. I remember bumping into a group of girls at Daily Fresh at the Trent Building (now, the existing Secret Recipe) and having a conversation with them. They just so happened to be in the same foundation course as I am, and we became really good friends ever since.
My mum keeps telling me that “University is the best years of your life.” And I believe that she’s right.
In university, life-long friendships are made.
Friendship made in the university is a unique kind of friendship. They are the friends who have seen you at your best and celebrate your achievements. They are also the friends who have seen you at your worse – when university life becomes a bit too overwhelming with back to back deadlines, nights you stayed up at TCR finishing off group work, multiple presentations per week, and all you need is that 3 am drive to McDonald or Al Reef with company, and suddenly the world seems a bit more bearable.
Relationships with lecturers are formed. You realised that after all these years, they’re not that bad after all. You also realise that some of them are actually pretty cool.
UNMC has provided me with a wide array of a platform for me to flourish academically, pursuing things that I am passionate about and giving me borderless opportunities. The strong support that I have received throughout my university years from the upper management, lecturers and friends is truly something that I am very grateful for.
If it wasn’t for my Head of School, Dr. Festo Massawe, who full on supported my interest in external programmes to increase my knowledge beyond the four walls of the classroom, I wouldn’t have been attending the Town Hall session with former US President, Barack Obama, or have received the Vice-Chancellor’s Medal Award. If it wasn’t for Prof. Graham Kendall’s unwavering support in encouraging students to explore their fullest potential, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to represent the voices of Malaysian youth at the COP22 United Nations Climate Change Negotiations.
UNMC has this magical way of bringing people together.
For those of you who spend as much time on campus as I do, knows the importance of being part of a club or society – and spending more time with that particular club or society than you actually do studying. Whether it’s joining Fitness Club’s HIIT sessions, being part of the university’s theatre production, taking part in SWAG, joining dodgeball just for the fun of it or doing charitable activities with ACE – there is always an avenue to cater towards an individual’s interest.
But if there’s none, start one! If you have a cool idea, implement it! The best part of UNMC is that it has such a welcoming environment that allows a student to explore possibilities and come up with their own initiatives. The key is to start somewhere. Voice your concerns, and search for solutions. Nothing comes without challenges. Now looking back, if I didn’t start talking to people about the Bicycle Project that I had in mind, I would have never co-founded the Nottingham Cycling Club that exists today.
The student experience in UNMC is no doubt enriching. Although some of you may have had the experience of joining the exchange programme at the Ningbo or UK Campus – you’ve got to admit that there is nothing like studying in Semenyih, our small, quaint and cosy campus.
The scroll in your hand marks your ultimate accomplishment of your university years and the start of a new chapter in life. You will soon embark on a new journey with countless “What’s next?” being questioned and you will definitely be asking yourself, “Is this really what I want to do?”
Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.
As we reminisce our wonderful years in UNMC, it is time to move forward. Remember your purpose, where you started and why you started in the first place. After this, you’ll be upgraded from graduates to esteemed alumni of the University of Nottingham.
I’d like to end my speech with my favourite quote, “Be the change you want to see in this world.”
May all of you have a successful future ahead, and I can’t wait to see the amazing things that you will accomplish. Thank you.