Dear Class of 2017: You are Amazing!
story | Stanislav Presolski, Assistant Professor
photo | Mercury Press
I say this knowing that I am not immune to biases, yet striving to stay objective to your true values and numerous accomplishments I cannot but reach for the superlatives. And even those of you who have given me and my colleagues a hard time have been orders of magnitude more gracious and kind than the typical students I have dealt with elsewhere. Most important, though, has been your collective ability to create an engaged and caring community, which has been truly inspiring. So ever since my job interview when I witnessed the Halloween preparations in RC4, listened in on your conversations (and crucially, was offered the Wi-Fi password) I was driven to contribute to the College. Thankfully, I could start doing it when I joined Yale-NUS, but only after “unfriending” those whom I have gotten to know on the ground at Pink Dot.
By now I am convinced that you are ready to spread the Halcyon spirit into the wider world without needing much advice from professors, counselors, or even parents. Moreover, we really have no idea how exactly you should go forward. So you figure it out, dive into the World, invent new molecules, create new products, solve social issues, start a family, make yourself and other people happy by being a street musician, theater performer, artist or why not a polite and knowledgeable (aircon) service specialist! And if something is amiss with the status quo, well, you have your four years of experience in building this place to fall back on. Just don’t go overboard applying the “principle of charity”, if I may.
Your obstacle of course, is that you are still an unknown quantity to those who haven’t been paying attention to the rise of the latest hyphenated institution in Singapore. You are invisible to the employers, who are not aware of the talent we have concentrated and cultivated here. So you might get overlooked at first, but this stealth is also your strength, and you will eventually take them by surprise with the power of your liberal arts education.
I vividly remember the moment I learned about Yale-NUS and the ensuing thrill of discovering something truly special that scientists yearn for. Now, it is clear that my initial excitement has been completely founded, as the College is everything that I had imagined and then some more. Thus, as graduation looms I can’t wait to “friend” those of you from the pioneer Class of 2017 that I have gotten to know. Not only to see what becomes of you, but to continue to be inspired by your struggles and successes. As I am sure you’ll go far and hopefully stay close!