2017 May Commencement Speech – University of Tampa

President Vaughn, members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, faculty, families, and my fellow Class of 2017. Congratulations, we’ve made it. My name is Khadijah Khan and I am honored to stand before you and represent the university for which we share the most profound gratitude and love.

As graduates, we will carry the most memorable parts of our experiences with us. These past four years have changed my life. This university has given me countless opportunities to grow, thrive, and continuously aided me in building the skill set necessary to succeed in life. Yet through it all, there is one lesson that has stuck out beyond all others. There are always new opportunities masked under the cloak of defeat.

UT has shown us that failure IS an option. Failure IS an opportunity for growth and personal development. Failure pushes us, failure IS what drives us to the next step. Without failure, there IS no success.

The University of Tampa has tested our tenacity and pushed us to evoke the change that we want to see in the world. It has taught me the true meaning of perseverance, it taught me to have courage, and it showed me how to have confidence in my abilities.

Throughout my time here, I have been a member of 38 organizations while serving in 3 student coordinator positions and holding multiple honors. To say that I have been pushed to my limits would be an understatement. But the UT community has shown unwavering support to not only myself but to all of its SparTans.

Without the support of this community, all of the rejection letters, the tough choices, and the tears would have made me quit. But, UT has shown me that a true Spartan never quits. Rather, we rise up more relentlessly than ever before and persevere until we are someone of whom we are proud.

A true Spartan can overcome adversity. A true Spartan finds the courage within to make a change for the betterment of all people, not just themselves. A true Spartan is someone who is able to seek opportunity out of defeat.

We are unconventional, we refuse to conform to societal norms, and we seek to implement change. We will move on and we will have an impact in the world because of our determination and our ability to embrace the unknown.

As we leave today, remember that throughout your lifetime you WILL be challenged, you WILL be pushed, and you WILL face personal lows, but we WILL prevail, because we are all Spartans.

Written by Khadijah Khan. Given by Khadijah Khan on May 6th 2017.

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