What It’s Like To Speak in Front of Your Graduating Class

As the school year is winding down for most of us who are graduating our institutions are holding final events. My University holds Last Lecture an event hosted every year for the graduating students. If you’ve never heard of Last Lecture it was actually created by a professor in the US who was dying from pancreatic cancer and decided to have a “last” lecture in terms of what wisdom about life he’d like to share and pass along. If you’d like to see his Last Lecture follow this link.

In February I applied to be the student speaker at my school’s Last Lecture, where I had to explain why I should get the part, what my speech would be about and receive 25 signatures of graduating students from at least 3 programs other than your own. Of course being the over achiever I am & actually knowing people in most programs I was able to get a signature from every program.

Aside from the assignments, projects, midterms and presentations I had leading up to the event I would put aside some time to write my speech. Again being the nerd I am, I created a survey to collect information about all the programs in order to have a better understanding of them as well as some inside jokes. I also made sure to include jokes that we as Guelph-Humber students would personally relate to. I knew I wanted to be authentically myself and attempt some jokes.

Although I have experience speaking in front of audiences from case competitions this was a very different audience. These were my peers and university faculty & staff. But I was mostly scared about my peers. Getting in front of a room filled with your friends, peers, and people who run the University….totally…not nerve wracking….

This was 1/3 of the room

The things running through my head leading up to my speech were: don’t faint, make sure your legs aren’t asleep and that you have enough saliva in your mouth. When the MC introduced me, the walk to the podium felt like a blur. I was welcomed with a supportive applause by my peers. The speech started well and when it came to the audience participation I was surprised by the amount of hoots & hollers I received. As the crowd laughed at the first few jokes I started getting more relaxed.

Addressing my graduating class while attempting to make a few jokes along the way

I hoped that my speech would be able to make people laugh and realize how amazing it is that we are finally graduating. As my final joke came to a close and I thanked & congratulated my fellow 2017 classmates I was met with an amazing standing ovation. From someone who’s never received a standing ovation, it was pretty darn cool. The adrenaline pumping through my veins as everyone in the room stood up and applauded I couldn’t help but smile. I did it.

Receiving a Standing Ovation (not gonna lie, it was pretty cool)

As I mentioned in my speech “I personally don’t believe that I would have been able to do the things I have, met the people I did, or gotten to stand where I am right now, speaking to my graduating class, had I not come to GH” (it feels weird to quote myself, but at least I don’t have to cite it).

Thank you to my parents, friends,  co-workers,  bosses, teammates, study abroads friends, professors and everyone I had the opportunity of meeting at Guelph-Humber. My four years at GH could not have been as memorable without you all.

Thanks GH, it’s been a blast ❤


2 thoughts on “What It’s Like To Speak in Front of Your Graduating Class

  1. Beverley says:

    I’m sorry I didn’t get an opportunity to hear you speak. I have however, had the opportunity to watch you progress through the never-ending calendar-of-events that is the life of an engaged student. I’ll miss you, but look forward to watching the continued progression to be who you will be. B.

    Liked by 1 person

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