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Stepping out into a new world


By Ashley Chan
BVisSci MOptom Deakin University 2015

‘It is a tremendous privilege to be afforded the opportunity to study at university. Like many of the mysterious and obscure metaphors given to us throughout our university education, I would liken the journey to being given a brand new pair of shoes.

At first, much like a new pair of shoes, university was shiny, wondrous and brimming with yet-to-be-written stories. Stepping into university felt slightly foreign, and within the first couple of weeks, it was clear that these were rather big shoes to fill. There was lots of growing to be done.

Luckily, throughout our time at university, we were surrounded by mentors. Mentors came in all shapes and sizes—lecturers, tutors and students. These people, who were endlessly kind, generous and intelligent, were a constant reminder that although our shoes did not yet fit quite right, someone else had also walked the windy path that we were walking, and they came out the other side all the better.

These mentors challenged us, encouraged us and reassured us—all the while knowing how much there was to learn. They taught us how to reinforce our shoes with hard work, resilience, determination and perseverance. They pulled us up by our shoelaces, even when we were resistant.  They helped us gather together everything we needed to excel in our chosen fields. For that, we owe them a debt of gratitude.

For me, a huge thank you is also owed to my family and friends for their unreserved and unwavering support throughout this journey. These people were the cobblers who kept my shoes together even when I felt like they were scuffed up and worn out. When assignment deadlines were approaching at breakneck speeds, and procrastination was the pair of socks that I had worn for months on end, my family and friends were always there to remind me to breathe, keep my feet on the ground and just keep walking.

They were also the people to cheer me on when I passed an exam, laugh with me about my lecturers’ idiosyncrasies and whisper words of praise any time I challenged myself. I’m sure I can speak for my fellow graduates by saying that without our family and friends, the road would have been much bumpier, and I’m sure I would have ended up with many more blisters. 

Now, my fellow graduates, the time has come. This pair of shoes that we wear has become infinitely more comfortable and familiar. We have grown in our ideas, skills, strength and friendships, and have filled these shoes as much as we possibly can.

We can now look back at the unique footprints that we have made for ourselves at university, and look forward towards the limitless potential that the future holds. I’m sure that as we step out into world, we do so equipped with the best tools possible and the best people to walk alongside us.

Thank you.’ 


Ashley Chan works at the Australian College of Optometry.

Hoorah for Deakin's first graduates

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