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Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Esteemed President, Provost, all the deans and dignitaries on stage. Dear loved ones, professors, faculty and staff, a very good morning to you all.

After all the sleepless nights and endless submissions, questioning our very existence and debating the flaws in the education system — complaining about exams and trying to Google whoever even invented the concept — here we are today gleaming and giggling. Boy, we did make it good!

I believe that life is a game of choices. Yes, I said game of choices and not Game of Thrones. I most certainly have your attention now. We each have the wildest of dreams and highest of ambitions. Given any situation in life, we instinctively and obviously choose the best possible available option. One such decision was choosing The University of Texas at Dallas to fulfill my dream of completing my master's degree. An accumulation of such choices and decisions will ultimately shape our whole lives. Today, we are gathered here with our chests pumped as the proud graduates of this esteemed university, and I bet there can be no bigger proof that the decision we all made has certainly been the best one yet. Me, coming from India with so many apprehensions, here I am today conflicting with myself if I have to be happy or sad now that this is all over and I am sure most here feel this with me. We will all need some time to swallow this sudden dose of hard-hitting reality — where there is no more free coffee during the lecture series, no more three-hour lab sessions, bundles of reports and no more night outs in the library. The one thing I will personally miss the most are those rides on the jam-packed 883 Comet Cruiser.

“To overcome fear is success in itself. Let us beat fear down and use it as a stepping stone and take whatever happens as either a blessing or a lesson.”

Along with a whole bunch of science, I have learned so many life lessons here. To quote Aristotle: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” To be nothing? How can one decide to be nothing just to avoid being criticized? It is as good as being a breathing corpse. The only befitting reply to critics would be our gleaming success. Let us all shrug off these criticisms and vow to strive for our success because actions do speak a lot louder than words. The second most important lesson I learned here is to face fear. Fear is a constant. Nothing makes us more uncomfortable than fear. The true joy of achievement is felt only if we were afraid of doing it. But fear is also the greatest of motivators. It invokes our innate and raw emotion of fight or flight. Only if we are afraid of failure will we struggle not to. So, go climb that mountain, be a pioneer, go take that road never taken, sky-dive from a plane and, of course, go ask that special person out. To overcome fear is success in itself. Let us beat fear down and use it as a stepping stone and take whatever happens as either a blessing or a lesson. UT Dallas is one of the most diverse universities in the United States. Bringing in the brightest minds and the best talents from around the world to make it one global campus. So let’s talk about competition. There is nothing more straightforward than competition. The only thing we need to compete is with ourselves and strive to be better than who we were yesterday. This way we can constantly improve ourselves and be shining examples in this cutthroat world.

Now that we are at this point in our lives, let us not think that we achieved all this by ourselves. Let's be grateful to our parents for all the sacrifices they have made. Let's be proud of our friends and cherish the memories we made with them. Let's be proud of our alma mater and show the whole world the high quality of education imparted to us at UT Dallas. Finally, the most important of all, let's always push ourselves to reach our goals.

Before I end my talk, on behalf of all the students and all the proud parents present here, I would like to thank the professors and the staff of this university from the bottom of my heart for investing their time and energy on our betterment. Not being students of this university anymore will leave a void in our hearts, which can be filled by nothing. Like all the other countless students nurtured by UT Dallas, this university has taken utmost care to ensure our success and provide all the tools needed for any student to achieve his/her individual dreams. We are ever grateful for this and promise that we will all be soaring Comets forever. Now, let's all stand up. Make a fist with our left hands and put it in front of our mouths. Extend our right arms out and slightly upward, palms down and fingers extended. Lean slightly to the left and let's do the Whoosh on my count. 1…2…3…WHOOSH!!


Sai Gowda graduated with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has been involved in the Indian Students Association, Electronic Dance Music Club and has also been a volunteer at the Human Enabled Research Laboratory. He has also served as a teaching assistant and conducted research in the field of floating off-shore wind turbines.  After graduation, he plans to work in the wind energy industry.

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