Sunday, January 21, 2007

Honored at HELP University

I was honored by my university, HUC, to address a crowd of 150 (may be a little less), brand-spanking-new undergraduates, their parents, some graduates, and faculty, at the academic lunch hosted by the deen.

The invitation from the Deen went as follows:

(Astrorat),

We would like to invite you to present a speech at the freshman lunch on Saturday. There will be 4 speeches; one by a senior student, one by a grad (that's you), one by a lecturer and one by me.

The speeches will be at the start of the lunch.

(The Deen)


The event was formal. Every one wore academic robes (minus the trimming). I could best describe it as a scene out of the movie made in honor of my dear friend, Harry Potter. There were four long tables, with students all dressed in their dashing robes. The picture shows half of one of the tables. However unlike the scene in Harry Potter, is the presence of the parents and the press (heh)

The scene was like a movie which i had dreamt for. The Deen introduced me, citing all the lovely things that can be said.

My speech went something like this:

Faculty, fellow graduates, friends and family,,

My challenge today is to try and describe to you the attitude that helped me and my fellow graduate students get though the years of undergraduate life. Believe me, you are at the door step of the most challenging and difficult, yet the most exciting times in your life. These are times when you will like the previous speaker said, not just cry, but dance with joy.

One of my favorite topics in psychology was dreaming. No, not the different theories, but the fine art of day dreaming, when lectures seem to go on for ever and ever and ever.

(laughter is heard from the crowd. The deen says “now we know what you been upto”, and i said “opps”!).

Well, our day dreams mean more than that. For there is something distinct about what we did to our dreams. We didn’t just stop at dreaming, we went on to make those dreams into reality. Let me illustrate with some examples.

(I paused and looked for a moment at the paper and then at the crowd – at least that’s what i think i did).

Some of us dreamt of great journeys, we dreamt of going to distant places… We organized, created and ran psychology camps.

Some of us dreamt of writing the next best novel or story books.. We created and printed our own publications.

Some of us dreamt dancing through the night… we made and enjoyed the many parties, and of course the grand psychology ball.

Some of us dreamt of giving our own lectures… we became tutors and learnt that lecturing is not as easy as we had once thought.

Some of us dreamt of becoming the heros and heroines we met in our texts… we signed up as research assistants and honed in our own skill as scientists

We all had some dream, and we worked hard in making those dreams reality. However some, did not dream. They, would also sit in class, take careful notes, and go back where ever they came from… i don’t know what happened to them.. (almost faint with some verbal effect) they just faded away.


(the crowd was hushed and i can see from their reaction that they were taken by what i had said)

I would like to quote to you what Robert Goddard said. I quote “it is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Those of you who are freshmen and are standing at the doorway to this great journey, i hope you too will dare dream the impossible dream: spin your own magic, and make those dreams into reality. I welcome you to this prestigious program, at HELP University College.


I heard the crown applaud, but all i was aware of was how profusely i had been sweating. It was the first time i had been given the honor of addressing a crowd in an academic setting. Nothing in the years before this could have prepared me for such an honor. As i walked down, and back to my seat, i remember shaking the hands of the Deen, the head of ARCCADE, the HEAD of the career development center, the head of the clinical program, and my friends.

I was aware that i had faced a dream, and i had pulled it off in style. I am grateful for the university for giving me the honor. I am grateful for fellow blogger and friend, Steph, for giving me the topic which i spoke about: dreams. I am also grateful for another fellow blogger and friend, Tessa, for taking the lovely pictures that you see here (incidentlly, Tessa was also my date for this lovely lunch).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Set forth and sail

There is a certain uncomfortableness to steer without a rudder in the open sea. There is a certain unknowingness that arises when all there is are the deep and somewhat unknown currents that push you along. Time never stops, but for a moment, for a fleeting moment, the drifting doesn’t seem aimless.

Who am i to tell where this ship is sailing. The map that i for so long relied on, no longer valid. Perhaps i should set the sails up high, but, the sails are torn and tossed about, in the chaos that no one realized. I don’t know why no one wants to abandon this ship, perhaps knowing that the gentle drift will some how take them somewhere. The destination, desirable or not, is bound to happen.

As night falls, they eagerly await moments of escape, even if only for moment, in dreams. At least in a dream state, they are able to escape from the greater unknown voyage, set sail again, and command the ship into great places that are thought unknown. The dreams are important, for in them, lie the deep desire to turn the ship, and to visit the towns by now their heart desires. But, in the still of the night, dreams too remain still. In the morning, unknown to them, the ship would have drifted further to a world yet unknown.

Where is this world? Is it the paradise that they dream of? Would there be wine and dance as there has been before? What does the path ahead have? Perhaps the lands ahead, though uncharted, will nevertheless be more exciting than the past.

Its only normal to reflect the past, and wonder how things could have been different. Almost in smile, yet in deep thought, the journey thus far, brilliant. A voyage, that for now seems to have no sense. Perhaps the crew are all but tired to phantom a direction. As if to say, that there is satisfaction in not knowing, as if a drift right now is ideal, the journey my friend, continues.

Cheers!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tomorrow

As i lay on this pillow of life,

I realized that just like how all good things that come to an end, so must all bad things. For that is the pact life handed down to us, that everything in life will be renewed and nothing shall remain. This, i recon, is the light that we all hope for and desperately embrace when moments of darkness is upon us. There is something sweet about knowing that darkness will come to an end.

Sadly, someone trying to elude from this darkness realizes that, happiness too, does not last, as it too must some day, surely, come to an end. Then, what can remain as our only hope is the assurance that no sorrow or joy is ever static. That our world is forever changing, for ever renewing each day as the sun sets. That though we find ourselves in solitary, it is but all fleeting moments experienced in our quest for life.

Tomorrow, the weather will be different, for tomorrow may be a bright spring morning which call for good cheer. Tomorrow may be a day of winter spent in solitude and deep thought. I may never know what the day brings, tomorrow, however, no doubt, will be celebrated.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

a 'Promising' 2007

Happy new year all!

I having a reserved optimism for the new year that stems from the belief that the world today, cant get any worse than it already is. Well, it can, but i am cautiously optimistic. We stand today, divided, east versus west, black versus white, left versus right, so on, and so forth. We are concerned today about who will triumph. The mighty us (who ever we are) versus them (who ever they are). You get the picture?

However, the turbulent world outside, extends into the private domains of our own world (it always does. At least to some of us). My own life has been becoming increasingly challenging. Perhaps it is because time is giving a beating that i am yet to learn to deal with, or perhaps i do onto myself. The reasons don’t matter for reality is that, the world as i know it today, both inside and outside, is becoming ever more twisted and difficult to untangle.

Despite the struggle, i am optimistic for 2007. There are many things are brewing. Among the two most important are

* I will have to stop graduate school. I cant seem to find any way to fund my living expenses, and will be joining the workforce. I don’t really like the idea, but i am out of ideas. I hope that the tuition scholarship that i have, will remain till i come back.

I have tried bank loans, personal loans, other scholarships’, etc… but, the options are easier said suggested. Though being side tracked does not feel great, right now, it is the best possible outcome (unless the tooth fairy comes along)

* I got back together with my long time sweetheart (this ones happy stuff! It’s the stuff that’s meant to be taken with chocolate pudding). Me and her broke up for the strangest reasons, but we remained friends when things got ugly. Eventually, we realized that we were in for something big. Something bigger than we had earlier hoped for. It great to be love and be loved.

2007, like the one before, has some challenges ahead. With the looming threat of being packed back to Sri Lanka and loosing the graduate opportunity, the possibility of loosing love to distance all seem possible. These challenges however, promise for a good fight ahead. There nothing more interesting than a lovely battle to change what seems inevitable. Oh well, 2007, is not going down without a bruised arm n a broken leg!

I don’t like resolutions, i will break them if i make them and so i did not make them. this year, i want to achieve the following:

1. I want to learn to speak in French. A hot French chick should do the trick ;)
2. I want to volunteer my time for Children with special needs. I might want to develop this into my research area
3. I want to research and outline my family genogram in detail. There so little i know about them
4. I want to learn to dance the Latino way (isent there more than one form?)
5. I want to start reading more :D (really vague right? That’s cause it might not happen ;) hehe)
6. (and probably most important) Figure out a way to finance my living during graduate school.

To those of you my dear readers, here’s a toast, hoping that your own lists of “i wants” are well on the way. Here’s to a splendid year ahead!

2007 has another reason to celebrate! this is my 100th entry! yay! :D