“Graduation is more than walking across the stage to collect a diploma. It marks the beginning of the next phase of your life which is something worth celebrating even in this difficult time.”

This is what Dr. Kong Hwan Kim, Professor Emeritus of Ajou University, South Korea said as the Commencement Speaker of the 9th Commencement Rites of Cebu Normal University (CNU) Medellin Campus. 

He visited CNU Main and CNU Medellin campuses last January to February this year as a volunteer professor teaching Korean language. He has also conducted a Lecture on Emerging Trends in Food Processing before the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak started in the Philippines.

Read related article: [Passion for teaching ignites volunteer Professor

The 9th Commencement Rites of CNU Medellin Campus was live-streamed last Thursday, August 27 at the CNU Facebook page with the theme, Thriving, Leading, and Serving in the New Normal. 

147 graduates comprised Batch 2020 of CNU Medellin Campus wherein two finished Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd) Major in English, 58 finished Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEEd) with an area of concentration in General Education, and 87 finished Bachelor of Tourism Management (BTM).  

Six of the graduates earned Latin honors. Three BEEd graduates and another three from BTM were awarded as Cum Laude.

Kim said that the graduation of Batch 2020 is unique as it comes as the world faces suffering and economic devastation resulting from the pandemic. He said that graduation is a big achievement in any circumstance and all graduates should be proud of themselves. 

He imparted that the graduation ceremony does not just celebrate a moment in time, but a culmination of years of learning about oneself and many other things. 

“The friends and family who supported you every step of the way aren’t celebrating the piece of paper. They are celebrating you – how you’ve grown; the challenges you have overcome,” he said. 

“Graduation marks your final passage into adulthood, the time when you are expected to fully take charge of your life’s direction. It is when you get to decide what’s important to you – the career you want to pursue; the values you want to live by that can be intimidating even under normal circumstances – and given the current situation, it can be downright scary,” Kim said. 

He said that the graduates should start deciding for themselves.

“Your life has been station to station. There’s always some next test to take, or paper to write, or homework to submit. After today, there are no more stations. Nobody is assigning anything to you. You have to start assigning yourself,” he said. 

“It is true that you are entering this new phase of your life at a daunting time. No matter how much you have done or how successful you have been, there is always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve,” he added.

“I trust you can develop and grow as long as you are motivated to learn. The important thing to remember about career paths is that they don’t have to last forever,” Kim said.

He said that interests and skills evolve as people get older. He then advised the graduates to be open to change and not be afraid of trying something new. 

He said that one can engage in daily lifelong learning either through socialization, trial and error, or self-initiating study.

He also reminded the graduates to practice the attitude of gratitude since it is probably the most important trait one can have as a source of both happiness and goodness.

“I know starting your careers in troubled time is a challenge, but it is also a privilege because moments like this force us to try harder and to dig deeper and discover gifts we never knew we had and find the greatness that lies within each of us,” Kim added.

“Finally, I like to remind you there is no doubt that you have a role to play in these difficult times whether that’s now or in the future for the nation that you all love,” he said before ending his message to the graduates. 

The pronouncement of graduation was made by the University and Board Secretary Dr. Michelle Mae Olvido. CNU Medellin Campus Director Dr. Grace Malaga presented the candidates for graduation and their degrees were conferred by CNU President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil.   

Congratulatory messages then followed from Dr. Dayagbil, CNU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Daisy Palompon, CNU Vice President for Research, Extension, and Publication Dr. Angeline Pogoy, and Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr.

The Alumni oath was led by the Federation of Cebu Normal University Alumni Association, Inc. (FCNUAAI) President Dr. Ramir Uytico after the University pledge. 

A photo compilation of the graduates was then shown and the first virtual graduation ceremony of CNU Medellin Campus ended with the singing of the CNU hymn and the recessional. 

A full copy of the 9th Commencement Rites of CNU Medellin Campus can also be viewed at the official YouTube channel of the University. (JDF)