Remarks by Huiting Wu at July 2022 Graduation Ceremony

Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests, friends and families, and my fellow graduates. It’s an honour for me to share this special day with you all. Let me start by extending a hearty congratulations to my fellow graduates - we ALL look rather Dashing in our regalia Don’t we. If you are like me, you’ve been a mix bag of emotions for the last few hours, so let me assure you, you have Done well, it’s time to relax and soak it all in. 

Today we celebrate the sleepless nights we dedicated to our assignments, the difficult choices we've made, and the mistakes we learnt to learn from; today we celebrate the friendships we received, the deep bonds we shared, and the inspirational personalities we modelled ourselves after; and today we thank those who have long supported us, who consistently see the best side of us, and whom we want to share this moment with more than anyone else. 

I've been long asking myself what this education has meant to me - my answer, after repeated reflections, boils down to 3 points that I would like to share with you all today.
   
First of all, humility in the pursuit of knowledge - What a great fortune we are afforded, to work in labs with an abundance of resources, and plentiful guidance. Regardless of your degree, I think we can all agree that the pursuit of new knowledge is not an easy undertaking. To first acknowledge that is a peace offering to oneself. I was almost childish in my ambition to make something that stands the test of time, something that adds a large brush stroke to the solar canvas. And yet, failure was inevitable. I have come to appreciate the vastness of the wonders unknown to us, and moreover, the vastness of what scholars have achieved so far. To be counted among them is a truly humbling experience. I have recognised that every brush stroke, no matter how small, contributes to a wonderful, ever-growing portrait of human knowledge.   

My second point is compassion - To graduate at such a time inevitably adds some gravity to our hearts. What is our role in this, in a world that’s seemingly going backwards at times. Fortunately, what we learned at university lies close to the challenges of mankind. We’ve listened to lectures detailing humanitarian projects for regions struggling through poverty, we’ve listened to research projects that reveal hidden climate stories from stalagmite. We share their imagination, we share the pain and progress in meeting the challenges the world faces head on, and that should be our biggest drive. History was never formed by a few people, much less so in our century. May it be that we find our stage and our voice to work towards what we believe in. 

And finally-hope - It is heartbreaking to be a witness to our changing climate, from the bushfires that tainted our entire sky to the repeated floods in NSW. We may never know whether we will make peace with our ecosystem one day. At least it’s best to make an effort, at least it's best to have hope. I will let you in on a secret. One day I want to grow a mangrove forest, rooting the carbon, calming the tide, and watching an ecosystem thrive.  Slow at first, only seed by seed, like all good things that come to life. Maybe Patience is what we need to see our climate action fledge into full swing, patient but relentless. And what we learnt in the past few years Undoubtably gives us an edge in making it happen. 

Graduates, thanks for sharing with me this reflection. Today we say a heartfelt good-bye to this chapter of our lives in ANU, we walk proudly for the better person it made us and there will be nothing that stops us. I hope this is not a final good-bye, but til we meet again, live your best life, follow your dream, voice your opinions, and make some changes. We welcome the next chapters of our lives with all of our hearts, because, we, my fellow graduates, we are ready! Thank you all!

Huiting Wu's PhD of Photovoltaic Engineering is her second degree from the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science. She earned a Bachelor of Engineering (R&D) with first-class honours in 2016. 

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