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Nirupama Shivananjappa

Master of Science, Electrical Engineering

President Benson, Dean Balsara, distinguished faculty, friends, family and my fellow graduates of the Class of 2017, a very good morning to one and all.

I would like to thank The University of Texas at Dallas for giving me this opportunity today. I have been dreaming of this day since I decided to do my master’s. I still remember the day I was leaving my home country, India, flying thousands of miles across the globe in pursuit of my dreams. I remember my parents telling me, “We believe in you. You are capable of achieving what you have envisioned for yourself. We are here for you. Be brave and be safe.” A second later, my mother added, “Lastly, eat well.”

Each one of us sitting here today has our own story. Our achievements, our struggles, our goals. This journey has been a roller-coaster ride for all of us gathered here today, a journey that would not have been possible if not for our courage, our consistency and our resilience, as well as the unending support we received from family and friends and abundant guidance from faculty.

Family, friends and faculty, this journey would have remained a dream if not for the support and encouragement that you have given us through our ups and downs. On this day, when we see the proud look on your faces. When we hear you cheering for us, every struggle that we went through seems like it was worth it. You have taught us that hard work and consistency pay off. I would like to take this moment to thank you all.

When I look back upon my journey of two years, I see how I have transformed into a stronger individual. There were several moments that felt extremely challenging and moments when I felt that “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones” were stressbusters. But with time, I learned that there is always light at the end of the tunnel as we come out of every challenge, bolder and stronger than before. The University of Texas at Dallas has taught me to aim higher, that there are no stupid questions and to learn from my mistakes. Like Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

One must always be willing to learn and believe that we are capable of change and can make a difference. I am sure you would all agree with me when I say that this journey would have been incomplete and thoroughly boring if not for all the wonderful and crazy friends we made here at The University of Texas at Dallas. The majority of my days began with rushing to the University to make it to class on time, then spending the next three to five hours with my friends. Our association starts inside the classroom, but soon we have fun, we laugh and we form a bond outside the classroom, which is more than learning and helping each other.

“We take moments and aspects in life for granted, and later regret upon our lost time. How about, instead, we decide to enjoy every opportunity like it was our one and only? Let’s pick ordinary opportunities and create the extraordinary from that. Let’s enjoy every bit of nostalgia we feel when we look back and wonder how time flew by so fast. ”

When I started my study at The University of Texas at Dallas, a friend of mine suggested, “Live these two years like they are the last two years of your student life and you will love this journey every bit.” I could not comprehend the importance of that line until today. When I look back upon my journey, I remember the several learning moments I had, the infinite memories I have created for myself and what she told me makes absolute sense to me.
We take moments and aspects in life for granted and later regret our lost time. How about, instead, we decide to enjoy every opportunity like it was our one and only? Let’s pick ordinary opportunities and create the extraordinary from that. Let’s enjoy every bit of nostalgia we feel when we look back and wonder how time flew by so fast.

Each one of us sitting here today is a rock star. We worked hard, we laughed, we worried, we had late nights and we are here today because we always chose not to give up. This is our day and we earned it with our passion, courage and uniqueness. It is hard to believe that our time here at The University of Texas at Dallas has come to an end. But the journey of learning, of achieving what we dream for ourselves should never come to an end.

Our future begins here, today. So, let’s all make a decision to inspire, to aim higher, to be humble. Let’s decide that every single day that we wake up, we learn something from that day and always remember that we are capable of achieving anything we have set our minds to.

Our imagination gives us wings. Let’s fly high and achieve greater accomplishments. Thank you!

Nirupama Shivananjappa graduated with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She plans to work in the RF Driver Department of Intel Corp., where she has interned since 2016, and hopes to pursue her interest in the Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam.

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