A step into the future

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A step into the future
By Manal Ismail GULF NEWS Published: June 08, 2008, 00:06

“Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for. The day we graduate, the day we step up, the day we start upon the road leading us toward the rest of our lives.” Those were the words of Hind Hussam, mass communications graduate and Class Speaker for the 2008 graduation ceremony at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), as he addressed 463 other young graduates.

There wouldn’t be a more perfect way to describe the day than as the start of a new beginning. Parents, friends and families flocked to the Sharjah University City Hall, some in tears, others with smiles, yet all expressing the same emotion – happiness.

However there couldn’t have been anyone happier than the graduates themselves. As they proceeded into the hall, each graduate conveyed a different feeling – nervousness, anxiety, pride and anticipation.

Yet each one walked up to the stage with a sense of accomplishment knowing that this day was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and President of AUS, congratulated the graduates and urged them to inculcate a spirit of cultural understanding and contribute to the development of their societies.

“Education and knowledge are not limited to a nationality or a country,” he said. “Tolerance and understanding are the means to the betterment of the world.”

It’s time to celebrate

The clapping and stomps of eager students shook the hall every time a school or college was called to stand up prior to receiving their diplomas. Their chants of triumph echoed through the hall. “We did it! We did it!” they would shout. During intermittent periods of silence, however, you could overhear the murmur of students discussing what they were going to do after this moment was over.

“I can’t believe it has ended,” said business graduate Amar Ali. “University consumes so much of your time. You can’t help but wonder, what life has in store for us next?”
It’s true that the future is unknown, however most students said they had their lives mapped out. For international relations graduate Sidra Shahid, graduation does not mark the end of her academic life.

She hopes to pursue higher education, lead an independent life and make a difference in society. “My ultimate dream would be to get a master’s and PhD and join the United Nations,” she said. “Although this may be a farfetched dream, no matter what I do in the future I want to be an active member towards making the world a better place.”

The power of the present

In her speech, Hind Hussam advised fellow classmates that the key ingredient to true success and happiness is integrity.

“Today’s world is constantly trying to change us, trying to turn us into people who compromise their values in order to overcome life’s obstacles,” she said. “To maintain a sense of who we are and the values we hold – whether we attain the heights of success or experience the deepest defeat – is the most important challenge that we are going to face,” she said.
Hussam emphasised the importance of the power of now.

She advised students that with every decision they make comes a consequence – one that will either take them on the path to success or another that may cause them to deviate from their goals.

“Now is the time for us to prove ourselves… and to shine!” she said. “Now is the time to make choices and to show the world that we have chosen right over wrong, good over evil and truth over falsehood. We are stepping into the future, my fellow graduates. The world is waiting for us to make our choice and to take that step. And the time is now!”

And the award winners are…

Graduates Ali Yousuf Al Amouri and Murtaza Ali Abbas won the President’s Cup this year. Each year the university awards the cup to the graduates who achieved the highest grade point average. The names of the honourees are engraved on the cup, which is permanently displayed on campus. The two graduates have achieved the full grade point average of 4.0 out of 4.0.

Graduate Emmad Abu Yousuf was also awarded the Chancellor’s Cup for an outstanding combination of scholarship, character, leadership and service to the university.

Class of 2008

– 464 total number of graduating students
– 435 received undergraduate degrees
– 29 received graduate degrees
– 214 males received degrees:
– 250 females received degrees

By school/college:

– 63 students graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences
– 157 students graduated from the College of Engineering
– 84 students graduated from the School of Architecture and Design
– 160 students graduated from the School of Business and Administration.