Gurwinder Kaur shared her story with over 400 fellow graduates, family, friends and Torrens University Australia faculty, as part of a graduation ceremony in Adelaide in early May 2022.
As she began her speech, Gurwinder expressed how this had been a moment she'd imagined her whole life. "In this celebrated moment, it is my emotions, nervousness and overwhelming attachment to the university that have taken the driving seat," she said.
The MBA graduate spoke from the heart about her experience as an international student studying in Australia, sharing messages of defying societal expectations and the importance of hard work.
Gurwinder recalled advice from one of her Torrens University lecturers: "Throw history out of the window if it is not working for you." Gurwinder herself has certainly thrown history out the window by being the first girl in her community to do so many things. Gurwinder was the first girl from her family to receive a convent education, the first girl from her village to study abroad, and the first girl to work far away from her village.
Hard work is a gift you give yourself
Like many of her fellow graduates, Gurwinder's MBA journey began with the outbreak of the pandemic.
"From the very first day, it has been a rollercoaster ride for me. It was fun, it was challenging, and it was, indeed, a learning experience like no other," she recalled.
Gurwinder spoke of the way classmates developed friendships through their shared experience, learning not only from the skilled academics but from each other.
"In and out of the classroom, in the cafeteria, over conversations and chats, through arguments as well as through agreements, we learned, we enjoyed, we lived an experience of a lifetime."
While thanking her professors for their support and guidance, Gurwinder recalled some more wise words from one of her teachers, reminding her of the importance of hard work:
"Intelligence is a gift that God gives you, but hard work is a gift that you give to yourself."
These words resonated with Gurwinder, whose message reinforced that, indeed, intelligence can take you to places, but it is hard work that builds the strong foundation of success.
Promoting learning in every aspect of life
Gurwinder acknowledged that for many people who choose to study their MBA, it is a stepping stone to greater career opportunities.
“The completion of our MBA, no doubt, has prepared us to be capable managers in our respective careers,” she said.
“But it is more than that. It has taught us life lessons, which make us better equipped to overcome the odds in our lives.”
Gurwinder’s words demonstrate the quality of Torrens University's education and the support from teachers and staff to build industry connections.
“Learning is not limited to our mark sheets or certificates. It is part of our decision-making process in all spheres of life. I have lived my dream during the last 24 months (about 2 years) of my life, and I can vouch for our classmates that they have lived their dreams as well,” she said.
Gurwinder radiated warmth and appreciation for her teachers at Torrens University Australia and their treatment in generating the confidence of students.
“As we close this chapter, we will all go on to discover our paths and begin the next stage of our journeys," she said.
“And who knows, maybe some of us here today could become the next generation of lecturers who are helping other girls from tiny villages on the other side of the world realise their potential.”
Congratulations to all for achieving this momentous milestone and taking a step forward.