In the beginning of 2016, I attended a graduation ceremony that reminded me on past graduations:
- the first graduation that I attended in the grandeur auditorium of my undergraduate alma mater. It’s the graduation of my best (senior) friend, she completed a 4-year engineering program in 3.5 years. Every graduate received two guest tickets and she gave one to her father and one to me, because her mother has passed away. I saw her going up the stage receiving gold medals and was very inspired. That’s perhaps a moment that drove me to do 3 semesters of workloads within 2 semesters in my final year of undergraduate studies.
- the inauguration of the 2nd President of my undergraduate alma mater. “Like the Renaissance men of old, … graduates will be masters of their profession and also competent in many areas, which is key to their survival in this fast-changing world.“
- my graduation ceremony in which I made my parents and Godmother queued in a cold late November evening because I would like to get my degree in the same year I passed my viva for job’s prospects. I could arrange for a later graduation ceremony, but I thought it would be fun for my parents to experience a British winter and a late autumn; we could still enjoy the artists’ palette of autumn leaves at my most favourite place (apart from the department where I worked, studied and spent most of my daily hours): Botanic Garden. I just felt sorry for Godmother, she patiently queued and listened to graduates’ name, until it was my name being called. Dear God, please protect my Godmother in spite of her fight with diabetes and grant her improving health.
After we leave schools/universities, we no longer have formal graduation ceremonies. However, we can continue to celebrate whenever we achieve milestones, as a form of self-encouragement. I love to celebrate by doing #pandahappyproject, usually a one-day project to eat, pray, play, love learn, beautify ourselves and most importantly create memory through visuals.
Celebration can also sustain motivation and passion, two of the most important fuels of human creativity and productivity. Make a rich and and compelling visual of what we want and what we value. It’s surprising that not many people have used this visualization technique, in spite my constant efforts to tell my younger audience (but those who use it, do fly). I started using it while I was an overseas student since my early teen. I visualized the day I collected my exam results, the day I win scholarships, the day of graduation, etc and these visuals preserve me in arduous journeys. I was not aware that this is a form of neuro linguistic programming (NLP) techniques (developed by Steve Andreas, a former industrial chemist, and Charles Faulkner, a financial trader), in which one can see, hear, feel, touch, and taste victory in one’s minds long before it actually happens. Remember "all achievers are dreamers."
Finally, we are responsible for appreciating the joy of being alive. Practice gratitude every day.