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My commencement speech

Introduction

After an eight year educational journey at San Diego State University, it is time to graduate! Since I kept busy and was involved in many programs/extra curricular activities, I got invited to multiple commencement ceremonies.

As of right now, I have been invited to the educational opportunity program (EOP), MESA program and the college of engineering ceremony. Last week, I was asked to submit a speech for the EOP ceremony.

This speech is focused on the EOP program and my experience with it. Additionally, I had a 500-700 words limit which made it extremely difficult to fit everything in!!

Speech

Good afternoon everyone, I don’t have a lot of time, but I have a lot to say. However, before I jump into it, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone here and especially the EOP staff and faculty!

I started at SDSU with a computer engineer major in summer 2011! I was fortunate enough to participate in the summer bridge program. Being part of the program influenced both my educational journey and my career as well as it enabled me to meet and connect with brilliant people.

One person in particular is another Fadi a genius who was majoring in computer engineering and math as well as minoring in computer science and honors!

Even though we were in separate groups at the time, we managed to stay in touch and continued to work together. Ever since, we became a team known as Fadee2. We took classes, tackled competitions, joined student organizations and now we work together at CourseKey. This is just a single example of how EOP helped me meet and connect with someone great.

Additionally, I worked as an IT assistant for EOP. During my time there I got to learn from my mentors, explore the IT world and improve my soft skills. Additionally, working in the office meant I could easily get advice that could help me speed up my graduation.

I could spend the rest of the day giving examples of how much EOP helped me, but I unfortunately don't have the time. I want to tell you about my roller coaster of a journey to graduation.

While working in EOP, I was on track to graduate with my computer engineering major and a minor in computer science in four and a half years. For those of you doing the math, I started in 2011 but here I am, graduating in 2019. The numbers don't add up.

When I was a junior, I created Aztec course snatcher and started selling it. Based on the name you can tell why it got me in trouble with the university. I got suspended for a semester and lost my job at EOP.

The worst part? My suspension happened on the final day of my summer classes. That meant I had to retake those classes once my suspension ended. And, because they were only offered once a year and were pre-requisites for other courses, the suspension was setting me back at least a year.

Even though I was suspended, I still received a lot of support from the faculty! From the EOP and MESA programs to my actual instructors helping me and guiding me through learning on my own. Even though my graduation was slowed down, I didn't let the suspension stop me from developing my skills

While at the time my suspension felt terrible, it ended up being one of the best things to happen to me. Because of it, I ended up starting CourseKey which allowed me to pursue my passions for learning and solving problems, giving back to the schools and helping others. I can go on and on about how and why I started CourseKey but that’s not why I am standing here.

I learned many things. I would not be here if it wasn’t for the support of others. From family, friends, faculty and colleagues to strangers on the internet sharing their knowledge. One person cannot do anything meaningful by themselves! To be successful you need to work with others and rely on others.

When things are not going well, focus on who you are and work on the things you enjoy. Things do get better. This is why I told you about my story. Getting the suspension seemed like a major setback for me at the time, but I responded by focusing on my strengths and passions, which guided me to where I am today.

Finally, remember to not give up. You are here because you gave it your all and did not give up in the face of challenges. You made it through one of the most difficult journeys. Whatever happens things can and will get better! Whenever things get tough remember you are an Aztec!