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Lotus Laureate Speech

Lotus Laureate Speech

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Published by Sam Wang
My speech as student keynote speaker at the 2011 Lotus Laureate Convocation for the University of Arizona Asian Pacific American Student Affairs
My speech as student keynote speaker at the 2011 Lotus Laureate Convocation for the University of Arizona Asian Pacific American Student Affairs

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Sam Wang on May 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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I want to say just a couple of things. First, mainly: Congratulations to all of you.Second, in preparing my remarks, in all seriousness I tried very hard to remember whospoke at my commencement in 2007. And honestly, I have no idea. Unless I've justtricked you into remembering, my bet is that 30 years from now you won't have any ideawhat was said here, but you will remember the parties tonight. You will remember yourfamilies being here, you will remember all the hard work that got you to this point andyou'll remember how you felt. And I hope you feel great, because this is a remarkableachievement that we are honoring here today.
“Je suis comme je suis” – French for “I am as I am” – is a saying that hasfollowed me for years, and guided me through times of high and low. To be honest, I amnot your average wallflower, and I have been criticized profusely for my extrovertedpersonality, my sometimes overbearing confidence, my questionable choices inclothing, the nonchalant tonality of my voice, and the intricate details of my private life.While I would try to defend the notion that, “sticks and stones may break my bones, butwords will never hurt me”, it
s not entirely true; there have been days that I just wantedto feel like the person next to me – accepted. However, 4 years, 2 degrees, 3 jobs, and7 graduation ceremonies later, all of that just seems trivial. Looking back, the last fouryears have been filled with success, built upon a foundation based on ambition,rejection, and persistence.
For much of my teenage life, all I wanted was to be popular. In fact, I was suchan outcast that I could not understand just why I felt like such a freak. Little did I know,the color of my skin, my then still-apparent Chinese accent, and my unconventionalawkwardness were already precursors to what would be some tough years ofadolescence. I was just different from everybody - whether that be ethnically,economically, or socially - I was always the minority, in every sense of the word. Incollege, I went through some deep struggles that left me in fear of losing the support ofmy family and the few people that accepted me for who I was. For months, I felt that Iwould lose everything dear to me. But through this struggle, I found a new voice, a voicethat told me to say “no” in the face of rejection, to cultivate strength through

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