Valedictory Address at Convocation 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Valedictory Address by Waqas Haider, BSc (Hons) Management Sciences Student and Founder Chiraagh

Thank you sir for such a generous introduction!

Congratulations Class of 2019!

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” - Aristotle

Assalam-o-Alaikum and Good Morning

Honourable Rector, Convocation Speaker, Worthy Deans, Esteemed Faculty, my employed and unemployed graduating fellows, and respectable parents, I thank you all for your presence at the 31st Convocation of LUMS.

It is an honour for me, the son of a tea stall vendor and a rickshaw driver, the first graduating student of my village to address you as the first valedictorian of LUMS. No matter what I say, you above all know that words will never do justice to express my feelings and deep attachment to this wonderful place called LUMS. The impact this place has had is hard to describe in words.

It was July 2015, when I received a rejection letter from Inter Service Selection Board for the Aeronautical Engineering (my passion then). I was dejected and sad but my mother said don’t worry, something better is planned for you. Two days later, I was sitting in the entry test class and received a call from my brother, Imtiaz saying, “Waqas class choro, jaldi se mere office ajao, aur aty hoy, mithai b lety ana.” I literally had no clue about what he was saying because my brothers were always against me missing my classes. Upon reaching, he gave me a hug saying, “You are selected for LUMS!” That day, I received a letter from LUMS offering me admission at the Suleman Dawood School of Business along with the National Outreach Programme (NOP) Scholarship and indeed it was a great opportunity for me as due to my financial conditions, it was almost impossible for me to continue my studies.

We all started our LUMS journey with the O’Week 2015 on the 24th of August. Everyone was confused and was struggling to understand that what will happen to us in the next four years. But at the same time, we were excited by the O’Week activities, as it seemed that we will spend four years like that but who knew that LUMS is no less than a horror movie that starts on a happy note and then suspense develops over time. O’Week started with us ‘chilling’ but then ‘Enrolment ki Sakhtian’ started either because we had world-class internet facility on campus, or fastest Zambeel servers, or increased batch sizes that we never got our desired courses on time’, ‘Quizzes, Assignments, Mids and Finals ki tension’, and mental breakdowns became the part and parcel of our daily life.

Oh! I forgot something very important, ‘Yar mean kia hai’, What’s the standard deviation? ‘Yar Dr. Kamran mean pe kia grade dety hain? Faisal Bari, Adam Zaman aur Sikandar Shah mean pe kia grade dete hain? So, LUMS life was the organic mixture of peer pressure, Khokha chillings, academic tension, love with LUMS ki Billian, PDC ki Chai and countless experiences that we shared in past four years.

During these periods of highs and lows, ups and downs, excitement and depression; our professors, friends and mentors provided a support that’s worth mentioning here. It was September 2015, our freshman year, studies were going over my head as I was studying business for the first time. So, I set-up a meeting with Dr. Zehra Waheed and during that meeting she spoke one line that completely changed the way I spent my four years at LUMS. She said, “Waqas beta, Parhai Karna lekin sirf parhai hi na karna.” That was the lesson that I took and joined LUMS clubs and societies, later became president of Amnesty LUMS and then launched my own NGO, Chiraagh, which is about to start a Vocational Training School for the empowerment of females of a village in Multan.

During our LUMS life, it seemed at multiple instances that we are done with studies, we can’t do it anymore but look around you, look at yourself; you are graduating today, we all are graduating today.

A round of applause for all of you.

Now, life will be a bit different as you will step into a new realm of practicality. So, here are few lessons that I would like to share.

1. Reach the pinnacle of success. Set high targets and take the measures necessary to attain them. But in the meanwhile, don’t get so occupied in your lust for money, power, fame, and recognition that you ignore your values. Live the moment as it is. Just make sure that in your quest for climbing the ladder of success, you are not doing it at the cost of failure of others. At the cost of humiliating your fellows. All of you are the best among the best. But this doesn’t make us superior, but rather more responsible.

2. Secondly, in my Economics class, I always got my answers wrong. So, I asked Dr. Zahid, “What’s wrong with me?” and he told me that I usually overthink the impact of one variable over the economic condition of a country. So, try not to overthink your problems as that’s natural to come along your path to success.

3. Lastly, don’t forget where you started. Don’t forget who and what made you who you are. Take care of the people around you, especially those below you. As Hattaf mentioned last night, we will start the Batch of 2019 Scholarship, so make your life count for something. Make an impact. Make a difference. Always try to think on a larger scale, on a broader perspective. Remember that on your deathbed, you won’t be counting the assets you own, the entitlements you have, and the balance in your bank accounts. But rather, how people remember you, how many people will remember you? And what will people remember you for? So, try to be helpful, kind, considerate, and generous.

In the end, remember, there is no success without failure. So, if you ever fail, don’t give up, stand again and have a firm belief that something better is planned for you.

Congratulations Class of 2019!