Dentistry Graduation Speech by Dean, Head of College or Guest Speaker

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Title of honoured guest/guests, members of the faculty, fellow graduates ladies and gentlemen,

Graduation day is like the day when a musician plays with an orchestra for the first time. You have worked hard, you have practised hard and now you are centre stage. From now on it’s the real thing, it’s adult life.

When I say it is like playing in an orchestra I mean that we are all interdependent. Even those brave souls who go to the Antarctic or explore the rain forests have the back-up and support of family members and others who are interested in what they are doing. The same applies to you. In the coming years you will meet many people, you will work with others and your life will be determined, to a great extent, by your relationship with them.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t think for yourself. It is not to say that you shouldn’t have your own thoughts and ideas. Certainly you should have the courage of your own convictions. It is merely to say that you can always learn from others, even if it is only what not to do.

That’s important. In life we will all meet people who try to influence us. We take it for granted that our parents and our tutors are doing it for our own good, so that we will have a good education, a decent lifestyle. Without being cynical you should be aware that not everyone has your welfare at heart. The person who tries to introduce you to the worlds of drugs, drinking or gambling certainly doesn’t. It is when you meet people like this that you should go your own way, and remember what is expected of you.

Of course you can say that you are adults now and that nobody has the right to expect anything from you. That is not true. Society has the right to expect that you will contribute to it and live according to basic rules and regulations. More than that, though, you should expect a lot from yourselves. You see you have it all. You have talents and skills and you should not waste them. They are gifts and it is up to you to use them wisely.

Your careers may take you down many strange paths and that’s what makes life interesting. I am sure there is nobody who retires who can honestly say that they have lived the life they planned when they graduated. Of course some of them did many of the things they expected to do.

Life, though, has a way of surprising you and so they may have found that things didn’t always work the way they expected. They may, for instance, not have got the promotion they expected or they may have got promotion they didn’t expect. Those who vowed to stay single may have found themselves happily married. (continues)

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