UWI students learned how to pivot during COVID-19 says valedictorian
KINGSTON, Jamaica – While presenting her valedictory speech on Friday, at the 2023 graduation ceremony for students of the faculties of law and social sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona, (UWI), law graduate, Aundrene Cameron emphasised the importance of “pivoting” when disaster strikes.
With applause raining down as she highlighted the fact that the now graduates had to endure classes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameron said that taught them how to pivot.
Cameron, who graduated with first class honours, decribed her class as the “graduates of the age of zoom.”
The valedictorian said in order to attend classes, students had to do so virtually, which left them in “uncharted and unprecedented waters.”
“Thrown off the calm waves of familiarity and thrown in the tempest – raging, unforgiving tides of uncertainty. Suddenly as students we became sailors, vested with a seemingly near but impossible voyage…May we continue to pivot and never lose sight of our potential, because a smooth sea never raises still sails,” Cameron said, as she encouraged her fellow graduates to strive for excellence.
Describing the issue of trying to attend classes with faulty internet service as “gushing waves,” crashing against them, Cameron, who was the vice-president of the Mona Law Society, University Dance Society, and the UWI Mona Guild External Affairs Committee, among other positions, said the graduates were able to succeed nonetheless.
She encouraged them to, “commit to continue to soar above the tides of life, face whatever storm that may come our way, and pivot, knowing that, as a graduate of the prestigious UWI, we are rooted, we are ready, and we are rising to heights unimaginable.”
She said they should recognise that they are graduates of a university ranked in the top 1.5 per cent in the world and are primed for success.
“Understand that we are first-rate, top-class, second-to-none graduates,” a visibly proud Cameron said.
Before ending her speech, Cameron invited the graduates to “Raise your canisters high because we angle that and triangle that! UWI Mona class of 2023, congratulations!”
Then drawing from dancehall artiste Valiant’s popular slang “Kotch e hat a lie? Kotch e degree a lie?”
This was met with laughter and cheers as the newly-minted graduates raised their canisters to the air.