Wednesday, October 13, 2004

We offically bade farewell to the Class of '04, whom I will remember with much fondness though I didn't exactly show this when we finally dismissed them this morning. I realise I may have made a mistake in not having a private venue for "famous last words" with them and what I wanted to say was instead lost in the perfunctory distribution of personal records and parting momentoes. Strange. Even my farewell address on behalf of the Arts faculty was a "safe," vague, over-general piece of waffle that masked the issues that I really wanted to address.

I know you read my entries online, but that's no excuse for not properly saying a personal "goodbye" to you exclusively as a CT. It's the coward's way out as there's nothing like hearing the spoken word in person to judge the veracity of that which is spoken. When I needed to, I failed to gather my thoughts and speak, too distracted with too many things going on, too overwhelmed with the end of things, too overawed by the new beginning of things, and numbed by it all. But even I have to get used to the fact that the Eagle's Nest is now suddenly empty, and a new breed of chicks are arriving in the spring.

The JC experience is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things. 2 years is the shortest length of time a student spends in any academic institution around here and as such JC really is a transient affair; only a preview of things yet to come. Yet because of the age at which you come under our charge, whatever you learn and whatever skills you acquire are going to have a major impact on whatever else you do with the rest of your lives. Like it or not, you were the elite of your 'O' level cohort and we hope you've survived your elite training even though you may not feel your eliteness right now, considering your final test is still just ahead.

In reality, we don't teach subjects -- we simply give you options. And we train you to see and make options for yourself. Thus, you should never be in a position in which you chose a course of action because you had "no choice." It's the most miserable of existences to live with "no choice" as an excuse for something stupid you might have done, and it's the biggest mistake anyone can make. Whatever happens in your lives from now, let it happen as a result of an option you exercised rather than be led around by the nose all the time. Make things happen, people.

Most importantly, maintain your friendships at all cost. They, above all, are what kept you sane through this surreal period of your lives, and they will see you through even more surreal periods of adult life ahead. We human beings are social creatures that thrive on cooperation in order to stay competitive in this big scary old world. I was telling the truth about being jealous that you share a special friendship with each other that I will never be a part of. Eighties, your social dynamic has always facinated me. There's a movie waiting to be made of your exploits in time to come, I'm pretty sure of it.

What do your teachers want of you? We know that at your level of academic training, it is entirely likely that in not too many years from now, we just might be addressing you as, "Sir," "M'am," "Your Honour," or perhaps even, "Your Excellency." It will be our proudest moment when we do, yet at the same time we hope that when you become a decision-maker at such a level, you'll make the right decisions for everyone (particularly us!). And even if you don't reach such a calibre, we want to be assured that you are at least able to make the right decisions for yourself as a socially mature, responsible adult.

Not too much to as for, is it?

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