Graduation Day at the U of A

After six long years, I finally walked across the stage today at the Jubilee Auditorium to complete my undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta. I am now the proud holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematical Sciences (Minor in Economics).

For me, graduating from university is a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I’ve done my fair share of complaining over the last few years, at times wondering if completing my degree was even worth it. I stuck with it though, and I guess time will tell if it pays off. I am guessing it’ll be many years from now when I finally recognize some of the things I learned during my time at the U of A. I think the best things in life are usually like that.

The ceremony itself was rather long. The first hour contained speech after speech, while the second hour involved over 700 graduates walking across the stage. The honorary degree was presented to Dr. Maria Klawe, who gave a very interesting (if slightly long) convocation address. In her remarks, Dr. Klawe mentioned three pieces of advice:

  1. Fail openly, and fail often.
  2. Avoid jerky behaviour.
  3. Endeavor to become good at something you find difficult.

The highlight for me was when Dr. Klawe explained how she came up with #2. Back in 1990 she had the pleasure (or displeasure it sounds like) of meeting Steve Jobs. She was quick to point out that she admires his many impressive accomplishments, but at the end of the day, she remembers that he acted like a jerk. As a result she vowed to always treat others with respect, no matter how wealthy or famous she became.

There are a lot of people who supported me throughout university, but I have to say thanks to Mom and Dad, first and foremost. My parents have always been there to support me in everything I’ve done, and I really appreciate it. Unfortunately my Mom couldn’t come today, but I know she would have if she could have! Extra thanks to my Dad for pulling double duty as my photographer this afternoon (I’ll post more photos tomorrow).

Thanks also to everyone else who helped me get to this point – you know who you are. I appreciate both the encouragement and constructive criticism.

Finally I am done with school! Huzzah! Now I can focus on my career and, um, repaying my student loans.