DLSU Summa cum Laude Shares True Meaning of Excellence in Graduation Speech

“Many of us may be too fixated only on the end goal and on one idea of an achiever. I believe that regardless of the size or count of our accomplishments, all of us are achievers in our own ways.”

This is what De La Salle-Manila University (DLSU) Summa Cum Laude Jadin Zam Doctolero told his batchmates during the university’s official graduation ceremony that had just taken place at the beginning of the month. A graduate of Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, Zam had achieved student excellence with nearly perfect grades throughout the seven years he spent in school, garnering multiple awards in local and international events, and becoming an active student leader.

jadin zam doctolero

In his commencement speech, however, Zam emphasized that true excellence isn’t about high grades, championship wins, and being the best at everything. Admittedly, this is what he had originally thought even before entering DLSU and slaved away just to stay at the top. He soon realized that this was not the mindset that anyone should have to attain a fulfilling life.

“When I was in high school, I remember grinding every night to be the top of the class. But then, life happened and I hit rock bottom instead. I thought all my hard work had been useless. I felt that I haven’t really achieved anything, and I hated myself for it. But as Avatar Aang from the “Legend of Korra” would put it, “When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.” And it was exactly during that difficult point in my life that I decided to prove that I didn’t have to be another person to be an achiever,” Zam said in his speech.

“I could just be who I am and focus on what could make me happy and fulfilled in the long run. When I started school in DLSU, I focused more on the things I am good at and on what I wanted to improve on. In doing so, I accomplished a whole lot more in the process and I have realized the more important things in life.”

He then urged his fellow graduates to define their own successes based on what they choose to struggle for.

“It’s a mistake to think that working hard will allow you to achieve anything,” he continued. “As Gon’s father in the anime “Hunter x Hunter” said, in the little detours we make in life, detours we may consider as failures, that’s where we can find what’s more important than what we want.”

To end his speech, Zam reminded everyone of their personal responsibility to use their privilege and education to help uplift the lives of “the last, the least, and the lost.”

“It is now our turn to give back to society and to build the future for the next generation—a future built upon our stories of personal struggles of how we acted upon our responsibilities. I firmly believe that our stories can have that kind of impact,” he said. “So as we exit the doors of our university, let us be more confident and courageous in dealing with our struggles and responsibilities. There is more to gain than to lose as we forge ahead in our journey.”

(ALSO READ: Flat Uno Grades While Leading Many Orgs? This Summa Cum Laude Proved It’s Possible)

Watch the full speech below:

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