Chancellor, fellow professors, distinguished guests, most importantly, graduates, family members, and friends.
Hello, I am Professor Sang Yop Kang at Peking University, School of Transnational Law. Graduates, at your celebrated moment, it is my great honor to make a speech in front of you and people who you love and respect.
Graduates, you are now at the scene of glory, one of life’s most significant achievements. You just finished your study at Peking University, one of the finest academic institutions in the world. Most of all, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on your graduation.
As a person who went to school first, and as a person who entered into society first, I have a lot to tell you. However, since I am not given much time today, I would like to talk about several points briefly.
First, of course, graduating from Peking University is significant. Graduation does not mean, however, that your education is over. Graduation is just a big step forward to another chapter in your life. Life is a continuous learning process. Please be prepared to learn about the next challenges you will encounter soon.
Second, when I think about the past, I am surprised that the distant past seems yesterday. Recently, I met my high school friends. I entered high school in the late 1980s. As I chatted with my friends, things from 30 years ago were flowing through my head like a flash (走馬燈). Yes, time goes by so fast. Life is too short. In this short but precious life, we have to do what we want to do the most. Success comes more often when you do something happily.
Third, the rapid development of information and communication science has made it so easy to access large amounts of knowledge through electronic devices. We may feel that we do not need to interact with others or get advice from others. The world, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, can become a more disconnected society. However, I cannot overemphasize the importance of sincere conversations between individuals. No matter how busy you are, please take the opportunity as much as possible to communicate and meet people regularly. You will find the value of human relationships.
Fourth, as graduates of Peking University, you already accomplished a great achievement. After graduation, if you do what you like with confidence, you will be able to achieve greater success in your fields. However, you should not confuse confidence with arrogance. Arrogance eats up your efforts and, even worse, invites hatred and anger of those around you. Being confident doesn’t mean that we have the right to disgrace others. I hope that you will choose the life of 中庸where modesty and dignity are harmonized.
Fifth, so far, your path has been relatively stable. But life is a winding road. You have to recognize that difficulties can always be encountered. It is so natural that one day you will experience failure. People who have only lived with a lot of tremendous successes often collapse drastically and completely when they face difficulties, even if such challenges are relatively small and easy to overcome.
It is because such people have been so victorious without going through the process of learning lessons from failure. When faced with harsh reality, please make sure that you are not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. Given that failure is inevitable in your life, the important thing is to know how to get back on your feet when you fail.
Sixth, so far, you have been competing with others and with yourself. After graduation, unfortunately, life will be even more so. A society outside of school is a jungle. In the jungle, the speed at which you move forward is important, but it is much more essential to find the right path. Sometimes you need the courage to go back the way you came. Please don’t isolate yourself as you navigate through the jungle. Instead, please listen to the people you love and admire, and take time to set the right direction that you should follow. Also, help your friends and family who are wandering in their own jungles.
Seventh, most importantly, maintain a healthy body and mind. When you lose health, you lose everything. Success and happiness are the next things that can be thought of after being healthy. Please always try to keep your health healthy even in a busy social life.
Dear graduates, once again, congratulations on your graduation and your tremendous achievements.Please take rest for at least several days with family and friends, and then prepare for your departure in the next chapter of life. I sincerely hope that your future will be filled with glory, wisdom, love, and happiness.