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Aminah I. Khan

Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Child Learning and Development

Good morning, distinguished guests, faculty, friends, families and loved ones, and of course, the graduating Class of 2019! I’m honored to stand before you today to congratulate you and share a few words on this momentous occasion. This much-anticipated day has finally come!

It feels as though just yesterday I entered the doors of the Visitor Center as a transfer student thinking, “Wow, this is so much bigger than Richland!” Although it doesn't feel nearly as big, it does feel like an extension of home. The hallways are no longer just a confusing jumble of different routes to class, but rather a familiar path with sights and smells that comfort me on the way to early morning discussions on the benefits of quality child care. In fact, if I pass by a certain office in Green Hall exactly between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m., I can be sure to catch the aroma of freshly brewed morning coffee. Although parking can sometimes be a marathon of its own, I know I’m not alone when I say how truly grateful I am for the fond memories I’ve made here at UT Dallas. 

“Wherever life may take you, I hope you remember the great power each and every one of you possesses to be advocates of good and beacons of light, even in the darkest of times.”

It definitely hasn't been smooth sailing for us all the time. Yes, we are UTD students. But we are also individuals with unique life experiences and challenges. We are family members, employees and community advocates, among many other roles. Your true grit and perseverance have brought you here today. Congratulate yourself and be proud!

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’d like to extend thanks. On behalf of the graduating Class of 2019, I’d like to thank the faculty and staff at UTD. From President Benson and former Dean Bartlett, whose many years of leadership we are so grateful for, and Dean Small, whom we have the pleasure of welcoming to BBS, to professors and advisors, it is clearly evident they all have a vested interest in seeing students succeed and flourish. Without their unwavering guidance and support, I’m sure we wouldn't be here today. I’d also like to take a moment to personally thank my parents — for whom this was a surprise — for being my foundation, my strength and my life advisors. Thank you, Mamma and Baba; I’m forever grateful to you.

To my fellow graduates, as we end one chapter and begin another, I’d like to share a few reflections we can take forward on this new journey. Some of us know exactly what we’re doing after graduation, and some of us don’t. Whether we’re joining the workforce, continuing education or simply taking a breather, there’s a level of uncertainty in what lies ahead. Embracing imperfection can alleviate that pressure. Real life can look messy, confusing and sometimes scary, too. This doesn't mean we can’t overcome whatever crosses our path. After all, haven't we come this far? As Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

We may not have the power to accomplish goals on the initial attempt, but we do have the power to stand back up, dust ourselves off and try again. A phrase that always stuck with me comes from my early school teacher Ms. Albright who said, “Trust the process.” We’re often so focused on the end goal that we lose sight of the lessons and experiences earned from going through the stages. Our time here at UTD is a perfect example. In the beginning, perhaps we didn't know exactly what we’d be majoring in or how it would even happen. But with time, we’ve not only accomplished what we set out to do, we also collected a vast amount of knowledge, wisdom and insight along the way.

As we part ways, I’d like to ask a favor. Wherever life may take you, I hope you remember the great power each and every one of you possesses to be advocates of good and beacons of light, even in the darkest of times. Channel your challenges and pain to propel you forward, and be part of the solution. And above all, never stop learning, never stop growing and always be curious.

Thank you all for these fruitful and memorable last few years. You will always be part of my journey. Congratulations, Class of 2019! We’ve only just begun!


Aminah I. Khan, a transfer student from Richland College, has been involved with several grassroots initiatives and community organizations. Khan has enjoyed teaching local middle school students through a service learning class at UT Dallas. After graduating, she plans to continue martial arts training and join a master’s program to become a licensed professional counselor.

 

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