Nicholas WONG - Class of 2017

“Throughout four years of tertiary education, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is never to limit yourself. As Mae Jemison, the first African American woman who travelled in space, once said, “Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination”. We are bombarded by so many standards, conventions, and predetermined opinions every day that we often find ourselves suffocating while trying to follow someone else’s path or achieving someone else's dream.

University, however, is a place for you to dream. There is no reason to believe a GLEF student will always become a banker, just as there is no reason to believe a Fine Arts student will always become an artist. While it is true that most people tend to follow the map, there are always people who choose to draw their own. I drew my own, and I admit that the knowledge I have gained throughout college has almost nothing to do with my current career. But university is much more than that; GLEF is much more than that. This program opens up opportunities, for which I am truly thankful: I received interdisciplinary training, and that widened my horizon; I explored different industries, and that helped me identify my goals; I studied in a small cohort, and that gave me lifelong friends that are always supportive. I changed my major to GLEF in year 2 and I have never regretted making that decision.

GLEF is special, not because it teaches you something that is not taught in other E&F programs, not because it guarantees certain career path or outcome after graduation, but because it is one of a kind. It equips you with an array of knowledge, provides you with flexibility and numerous opportunities, and gives you tremendous support when you are chasing your dream. It is totally normal to feel lost and confused at this stage of your life, but if you are a dreamer like me, and if you are interested in E&F, you will have a great time at GLEF, just as I did for the past four years.

So dream big and follow your heart. Never limit yourself because of your background and others' opinions of what your Major should be doing after graduation, and I look forward to meeting you in next year’s opening ceremony.”