SoFTA Dean's 2020 Graduation Address

July 30, 2020

Adam McIlwaine, Dean of School of Film and Television Arts

Dear Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Being at University is the beginning of a great voyage of discovery. The world is your oyster and everything new is there to be discovered. It is a time in your life where you begin to shape who you are and who you want to be. It can sow the seeds of future leaders, scientists and creatives of the future.

There are also many challenges as you start this journey, new surroundings, new learning styles, life away from your family and there are new opportunities, new friends, new romance (hopefully) and of course new subject areas to whet your appetite. For generations of students who have gone before you this was ever the case.

However, the challenges you have faced in your life over the past 8 months many of us have not seen before. Words that have become the new norm; lockdown, quarantine, online-learning, Big Blue Button have become part of your life as you completed your studies.

As students, creatives, imaginative thinkers, prospective leaders, you have faced these challenges head on and have emerged triumphant.

As creative students within both the School of Film and Television Arts and the School of Design you have adjusted by being able to adjust, by being flexible, solution-based and determined. These invisible skills are what University life also gives you.

With adversity comes opportunity. Thinking back, remember that first day you came to XJTLU. What would you say to yourself then, if you could turn back time?
Study hard?
Learn as much as you can?
Grab every opportunity?

Or maybe you would simply say ‘enjoy’. Enjoy every moment of your learning.

Today is the end of your time as an UG student at XJTLU. It is not the end of your learning. Be open to learn every day of your lives and enjoy learning. Whether it is a new task at work or a new subject area at grad school, be open to learning and adapting to new things every day of your lives. As you have witnessed in recent months what we held as ‘normal’ has changed forever.

In response to this I say never lose the creativity, flexibility and solution-based approaches we hope we have instilled in you. But, most of all, never lose your imagination or your dreams. These are the fuel for your future endeavors and I genuinely believe they are what will help you achieve your goals and to spot opportunity at times of adversity.

As Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems of today with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ Your generation will solve many of the problems we face as a world today.

You will be successful with new thinking, original solutions, discovering new paths on your journey.

Congratulations and good luck to all of you on the road ahead.

July 30, 2020