Yahya Saskia Rachelly, Masters Valedictorian, Spring 2023
Masters valedictorian congratulatory remarks during the Spring 2023 commencement ceremony.
“Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty members, proud parents, and my fellow graduates, allow me to introduce myself first. To all of my friends that know me, Hi.
But for those who have met me for the first time today. Nice to meet you all. My name is Rachell, and I am deeply honored to stand before you today as the valedictorian of SolBridge's master's program.
Allow me to emphasize that this moment we gather to celebrate today is not solely a testament to my personal accomplishments, but rather a profound reflection of the dedication and perseverance of our entire graduating class. Together, we have overcome challenges, pursued our goals, and arrived at this remarkable milestone in our academic journey.
Two years ago, my journey with SolBridge began, originating from Jakarta, Indonesia, a city that may not be small but is still classified as a developing country. I must admit that deciding to pursue my master's degree was quite a struggle.
Life in Jakarta, my beloved home, offered a sense of comfort, accompanied by a cherished group of close friends. I had a stable job in a field that brought me immense happiness. I was determined to spend the rest of my life just like that, comfortable.
But it was my father's unwavering belief in my potential that made me choose to do a master's degree. Though stepping out of my comfort zone was terrifying, I couldn't bear the thought of disappointing my father. Reluctantly, I left behind my comfortable life and stepped on a new adventure in a foreign land, South Korea.
And let me tell you, leaving behind everything familiar was not easy. The fear of the unknown lurked within me, and of course, doubts started creeping in. As I arrived in South Korea, a wave of emotions washed over me. I was alone in a foreign country, surrounded by a language and culture that were entirely new to me. But it was during these moments of uncertainty that I discovered that I am not as weak as I saw myself to be. And so, with a mix of excitement and apprehension, I embraced this new chapter in my life.
Little did I know that this decision would shape the best, most wonderful years of my life, filled with the most unforgettable memories. From multiple field trips arranged by the school, our culture day where we gathered to celebrate our differences, to our very last sports day where we all came together to support SolBridge. These are all memories that will stick with me throughout my life.
A famous quote by Ralph Waldo says that life is not about the Destination, It's about the journey. But I think differently, it's not the destination nor the journey that matters most, it is the company and connection we forge along the way that truly matters.
So, allow me to take a few precious moments of your time to express my heartfelt gratitude to the individuals who have meant the world to me throughout these past two years.
To my dearest friends, Callista, Tiffany, Kevin, Lucia, Chilly, Rima, and Yurika We were brought together by chance, individuals from different backgrounds and from different parts of the world, but we quickly became a family. Through countless conversations, shared laughter, and tears, we became each other's pillars of strength, navigating the uncertainties and challenges of this new chapter together. You transformed South Korea into a place I could proudly call home, and I will forever cherish our bond we share.
Although life's unpredictable journey may lead us to distant corners of the world, separated by vast oceans, and the convenience of a simple phone call may no longer be at our disposal, my sincere hope is that we will remain connected and never lose touch. I envision a future where we reunite, years from now, with hearts full of incredible stories to share. May the world embrace you with the same kindness and warmth that you have bestowed upon me.
Next to my very special friend, Younggwang, thank you for being my anchor, my source of strength in the face of uncertainty. Thank you for showing me the beauty of South Korea and for making every day an adventure. Your selflessness has touched my heart in ways I never thought possible.
And I also want to thank the reason I am here right now, my parents.
Dad, for as long as I can remember, you have been my superhero. My dad came from a small village in Indonesia, his father or in other words my grandfather sold glasses on the side of the road. My grandfather did not have the privilege of completing high school, yet my father, through unwavering dedication, has worked tirelessly every single day to ensure that I have every opportunity to pursue my dreams. My dad has been a constant source of encouragement, always urging me to aim for the stars because he believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself. Therefore, I want to take this moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to you, Dad. Everything I have become, everything I am, and everything I will be is because of your unwavering support and love. I am eternally grateful to have you as my father,
To my mom, your wisdom and guidance have been my compass, whether it was offering insights into the complexities of the world or imparting practical knowledge, your advice has been a source of strength and a beacon of light. But it's not just the advice itself that has made such an impact; it's the fact that it comes from you, my role model. You have shown me what it means to be a strong and independent woman and always lead by example.
Little Sister, Azzura, you are my radiant sunshine that brightens my days, the source of endless laughter that fills my heart, and my eternal friend. Even though distance may separate us at times, you have consistently been a presence in my life, lighting up my world with your infectious joy.
And my fellow graduates,
This ceremony marks a significant milestone, but as cliche as it sounds, it is just the beginning of our whole life. But I am here to remind you to take your time. In our fast-paced world, there is often a sense of urgency to achieve more, do more, and be more. We are constantly bombarded with messages that emphasize the need to have it all figured out right after graduation.
But let me tell you that our very different lives will move at very different paces. There is no line to cross when you're 24 or 34, no box you need to check, no list you need to fulfill. All plants sprout and grow at different rates in different climates into different shapes, and what is buried deep inside the soil may take a while to be seen. Take your own time.
Life is not a race to some predetermined finish line. It is about savoring the small victories, embracing the detours, and learning from the setbacks. It is about finding meaning in the everyday and being present in each precious moment.
Happiness is not a prize to be won but a path to be walked
And while we're at it let us support one another in our individual quests for happiness and success. Let us celebrate our unique journeys and remember that success is measured by how deeply we have lived and how authentically we have embraced our own truth.
Your greatest days are not behind you but are yet to come! Thank you.”
Yahya Saskia Rachelly, Masters Valedictorian, Spring 2023