Graduation Speech: New and Life-Changing Experiences

By Seina Maeda and Mohammed Alsharif, ELP Students

Orientation, Summer 2017

Hello everyone, we are Seina and Mohammed. Before starting our speech we congratulate all of you on graduating from the ELP. I hope you had life changing experiences. Because we did.

At first, I am going to talk about my experiences. This is my first time to come to the U.S., and everything was a challenge for me, especially when I spent my time outside using English. When I went to a restaurant, I was very nervous not only because I did not know how to order a dish but also because I could not imagine what kind of dishes written on the menu. What is that? How can I order it? What is a tip? I had many questions in my mind. Moreover, shop assistants spoke very fast in English. I could not understand them. One day, I went to Starbucks and I ordered one tall Caramel Frappuccino. Before I ordered it, I practiced how to order it in my mind like this, “Okay, I just say ‘Can I have tall Caramel Frappuccino?’ and I told myself I can do it.” And then I was served two tall Caramel Macchiatos. I didn’t know what happened, and I was very shocked because my English skill did not work. But I didn’t care about these mistakes, because I thought that the only way to learn is by practicing and making mistakes. New experiences always make us grow even if they are bad ones. If we keep trying something new, we can learn anything from it.

We can say the same thing about the experience with the ELP. It was not so easy to read and understand American culture, to recognize the grammatical rules, to listen and convey our own ideas, and to compose comparing and argumentative essays. However, most of them were our first experiences. It was natural to feel frustrated because we were trying to improve. Fortunately, we had an amazing learning environment which simplified all challenging tasks. Moreover, studying at Chatham enhanced our English skills and our information about American culture. We met many friends who are from other countries. The reason why we kept trying regardless of the adversities that we faced is to prove to ourselves that we can overcome our weaknesses. We can develop confidence if we keep trying something. How many points would you give yourself? Keep experiencing new things and give yourself a hundred points. These outstanding experiences and stories will last in our memories for the rest of our lives, but in the meanwhile, we should prepare ourselves for the next step. Some of us will go to the next level at Chatham and meet new friends. And some of us, like me, will pursue a master’s degree in information system management and some will pursue their dream job anywhere in the world. Whatever we are going to do we are going to face various adversities. To overcome any life adversities, we need to believe in ourselves. I want to remind you that we have a lot of teachers who believe in us here at Chatham. As Miss Mina always says “you can do it guys, I believe in you”. Likewise, I believe in you guys too, so let’s go conquer the world.

Finally, I would like to thank all our wonderful teachers who were patient with us and guided us for the past three months. Thank you Ms. Trisha for your help inside the classroom and for the great time we spent with you outside the classroom. Thank you Ms. Sylvia for enlightening us about the American culture and history, and making our reading class more interesting.  Thank you Ms. Mina for your supporting messages that you gave to us every time and for believing in us to do our best in every task. Thank you Ms. Linh, you showed us how to improve our grammar and to use more advanced academic words. Finally, I would like to thank you my lovely classmates. My time here at Chatham wouldn’t have been so great without you. I hope for all of you a successful future and happy life.

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