Valedictory Speech

By Dr Christine Wanja Murungi

Chairman Saidullah Khan Dehlavi, Chief Guest, Mr Mugo Kibati, President Firoz Rasul, Trustee Yusuf Keshavjee, Honoured Guests, Members of the Faculty and Staff, Ladies and Gentlemen, and my dear fellow graduates, A very good morning/afternoon [ or add local greeting] to you all.

It is with great honour and humility that I take this opportunity to stand here before you on this happy occasion to speak on behalf of the graduating class of 2012. It’s interesting how time goes by so fast. It feels like just yesterday when we were interviewing for our programs….what a highly competitive process that was! Out of the numerous applicants from far and wide, we each silently hoped that against the odds, we would make it to the top handful who would be taken in for our respective programs, in my case, the residency program in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. And sure enough, we made it! Only to realise the true meaning of the word “residency” or for our colleagues across the road, advanced nursing. It meant a complete change from our comfort zones….long crazy shifts, loads of assignments, trying to be at 2 places at the same time, sacrificing a huge chunk of our social lives, trying to keep up with all the current information and the mother of all challenges…the dissertations! I could go on and on, but in all this, we grew, well some may have grown a little thinner, but I’m talking about growing in knowledge, skills, professionalism, good judgement, self directed quest for knowledge, good time management, a high sense of responsibility, compassion for our patients and being a team player through interaction with colleagues; both juniors and seniors.  We slowly let go of our old ways; embraced our new environment and rose to the challenges that faced us. We eventually transitioned into senior residents and students, and now here we are, at our very own graduation, having blossomed into skilled clinicians and trained nurses who value good evidence based practice. We all have our individual stories, our highs and our lows. It is a journey that began with the first step and having taken it one step at a time, we have finally come to the end.  I’m sure many of you would identify with the profound words of Mandino that reflect on the fact that no matter how small you start, eventually you will achieve what you set your heart towards; and it goes like this…..“I will be likened to the rain drop, which washes away the mountain; the ant who devours a tiger; the star which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid. I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking…I will persist until I succeed”.

So today we want to convey our deepest gratitude to all those who in one way or another played a crucial role in our pursuit of higher education. To our parents, guardians, spouses and siblings, you were the constant wind beneath our wings; always there to encourage and support us; and sometimes to also remind us that we need to stop and smell the roses. Words cannot explain just how grateful we are.

To our so nicknamed “twins” in the departments and the rest of the residents’ and nursing body, you made our experience exceptional by simply being the family at work. To those who worked behind the scenes to facilitate our learning; the library staff, departmental assistants, the CME coordinators, the IT team, as well as the subordinate staff; your commitment and tireless efforts did not go unnoticed and for that we remain forever grateful.

To the PGME department, and on behalf of my fellow nursing graduates, the ANS faculty and staff: The Deans, Associate Dean, director of PGME, Program Directors and the academic offices; without you we would not have a successful program in place. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for tirelessly working towards maintaining the level of excellence that our program has continued to uphold and ensuring that we are not only nationally but internationally recognised.  In that same breath, I wish to thank the Aga Khan University for granting us scholarships that have enabled us to freely focus our energies towards our studies.

Last, but in no way the least, I’d like to thank the entire faculty. We have been truly blessed to have some of the most talented and dedicated teachers with a wealth of experience. Your commitment, patience, encouragement, guidance, supervision and mentorship; has been astounding. You taught us the value of good practice and drew out the best in us even through the tough moments. You helped shape us through the years and just as little birds leave their nests and fly when the time is right, you have without a doubt prepared us to face the world as specialists. Indeed we can see far because we have had the privilege of standing on the shoulders of these giants.  You have been an inspiration to us and we only hope that we too can be to others what you have been to us.

To our dissertation supervisors, a special thank you for making yourselves available and seeing us through the rigorous process of carrying out our research projects, we would not be here without your critical input.

So to the graduating class of 2012, I wish you all the very best in your next endeavours. We should not let today’s success push us onto complacency, but rather let it drive us to aspire to do greater things in life. Let us go out there, bold and confident; a shinning example to others and always striving for excellence in all that we do. Let people look at us and say, indeed, there is something different and admirable about us ….after all; we are now alumni of the Aga Khan University!

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