Graduates told to embark on futures with abundance of ambition and inspiration

Aberdeen University

A new generation of graduates bid farewell to student life yesterday as they gained degrees from Aberdeen’s most ancient seat of learning.

Hundreds of graduates celebrated the culmination of their studies during two ceremonies at Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Hall.

Jing Cai, a senior lecturer at the university’s business school, told graduates it was time to embark on the next stage of their lives’ journeys with an abundance of ambition and inspiration.

She also told them to become independent, to build good relationships with their colleagues, and offered advice on how deal with adversity.

She added: “Today’s graduation means you have mastered essential skills and knowledge to form a constructively critical view about the outside world – following the traditions of graduates from this university for over 500 years.

“While you should celebrate this, I wish you to keep in mind that in the future you may encounter challenges.

“Try to see this as character building.

“When things go wrong, see them as an opportunity to learn and change them into future success – success often arises from previous disappointment.

“Nevertheless failing one thing that you are keen to achieve undoubtedly does hurt, the more you have tried, the more demoralised you could become.

“Then how do you move on?

“When you travel through life try to celebrate every single new achievement regardless of how minor you think it is.

“You will realise that there are daily opportunities to do this – to reflect, learn and improve.

“When you occasionally fail – as we all do – you will find the outcome is less important.

“Do not over-analyse your failure as no one pays so much attention to your own failure as you will.

“The most important thing is to test yourself, try your upmost and to be aware that self-improvement is a life-long process.”

Honorary degrees were also conferred on retired diplomat Donald Lamont, managing director of Tern Television Productions David Strachan, and world-renowned theologian Professor Stanley Hauerwas.

Mr Strachan, who gradutated from Aberdeen University with a divinity degree, told students to “keep their options open”.

During his graduation address, he said: “Some of you will be itching to get out of here and start the exciting new job you’ve been lucky enough to line up, hoping you’ve made a good decision.

“Some of you will be anxious because you have not a clue what you want to do next.

“To all of you, I’d say don’t worry.

“Whatever job you are going to now, the chances are it’s not the job you will be doing, or the career you will be following, for the rest of your life.

“Indeed the work you’ll be doing in a couple of decades has probably not even been imagined yet.

“I trained in theology and I was, and am, a Church of Scotland minister.

“But I’ve ended up running a business, a tv production company.”