Admit to your humanity and don’t take yourself too seriously.
These were some of the nuggets of advice given to the graduating class of the San Fernando West Secondary School on Wednesday by Attorney General and San Fernando West Member of Parliament, Faris Al Rawi.
The school hosted its second virtual graduation ceremony on zoom on Wednesday morning to celebrate the class of 2021. The ceremony allowed approximately 111 graduates to commemorate their achievements while COVID-19 has shut physical gatherings.
In a pre-recorded message to students, Al Rawi offered his support and advice.
His central point was that attitude matters. Admitting to your mistakes and faults, he said, was an important part of moving forward in life. He told students to think about their futures and to incorporate their humanity into their work.
“The first thing that I’ll tell you is, nobody 15 years from now is going to ask you what grade you got in a particular exam. That grade is going to be another key to unlock a door in another to your life. I’d like you to focus upon the point that attitude is what matters in life. Attitude is where people cause an impression. Most people don’t want to hear the word no, they would prefer to hear this largely when it is associated with “No problem.”
“Think about how you approach the next step of your life. You have one opportunity to make a great first impression. Your first impression is made by admitting that you were prepared to learn from the best thing possible, our own mistakes. Embrace the opportunity to admit to humanity, to admit to the fact that we will all make mistakes. The question is how we recover from it and what our attitude in relation to our simple humanity is going to be,” he said.
He also encouraged students to learn to laugh at themselves.
“The second piece of Golden advice is to learn to have a great deal of laughter with yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously on the wrong occasion, have respect, have dignity and be serious about what you do. When there is an opportunity to make a good laugh, do it, because trust me, people will do it behind your back. When you become part of a meme like I do or when people start to put you in funny pictures, the best thing you can do is to put a broad smile on your face and enjoy that laughter,” he said.
Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, he told graduates to believe in themselves and to find balance among their physical, mental and spiritual sides.
“Believe that if somebody else has done it, then you can do it too. Faith in getting over obstacles, faith in yourself is what matters. There is a balance to be had in life, there is a physical side, a mental side, a spiritual side and a family side. Try to find a fair balance. It is going to be tough sometimes but never give up, you can do this. These are odd times but out of these times some of our best occasions will be remembered,” he said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Principal Ronald Mootoo expanded on the graduation theme of “building new paradigms.” An address written by Mootoo to students in the graduation program encouraged students to make the world a brighter and better place.
“I hope that we have inculcated in you that desire to be the best that you can be in your chosen path and that your thirst for knowledge fuels you to greater achievements,” he wrote.