A Harvard MBA Widow Tells Classmates ‘You Kept Me From Drowning’

2016 Class Day student speaker Marcelle de Souza Goncalves Meira

2016 Class Day student speaker Marcelle de Souza Goncalves Meira

I hope you know how strong you are and that failure or loss won’t stop us from moving forward, even as we leave this amazing place behind, even as we might be no longer together. As we learnt in BSSE, disruptions will continue to reshape our realities. But I hope you know that we do have what it takes to lead the change to succeed, to readapt ourselves, our companies and even our countries. And I hope you know that to be true, that you can actually make a real difference in the world. You certainly made a real one in mine.

If I may share one thing I learned after emerging from complete darkness, it is that the world is so full of colors that we fail to appreciate. There is so much happiness all around us that we take for granted. As overachievers, we have a tendency to over plan towards huge end goals, and to allow all our happiness to be just a function of their conquest. A function of big moments such as today, graduating from Harvard Business School. Well, yes, we definitely need to celebrate a lot today, because we did it, and we did it together!

But in the end what will have made this entire experience is not the framed piece of paper we will hang in our office. Rather, what made these past 2 years so transformational were the simple things, our day to day…the small group dinners, the many new perspectives from class discussions that we had never before considered, the amazing treks abroad that opened our eyes to different realities, the failure story of that inspiring guest that came to our class.

The sections’ basketball games (even when it was against section B), the witty jokes from our beloved professor Sophus, the successful summit of Mount Everest, all the late night delicious tasty burgers, the future Fortune 500 CEOs dressed in neon spandex at the 80s party, the very, very, very dangerous scorpions at the Kong, and of course, the cold call the morning after, and that beautiful smile of our classmate’s newborn baby.

Those were the moments that made us a real family. And [G], [G] believes the bonds they created within our section, our discussion group or with our fellow nationals are truly unbreakable. And we had a blast!

So let’s fully appreciate moments like these in our brave new journeys ahead, instead of wasting our lives paralyzed by the fear that we won’t achieve our next target, or have that perfect happy ending we so desperately hoped for. Because life is not about its endings. Because life is much more precious than that.

And I invite all of you here to cherish each and every day as a big bonus you have just been awarded, to live your life with an intense passion and gratitude for this opportunity. To never stop pursuing your dreams, whatever they may be, but also, and more importantly, to make the pursuit itself meaningful for you and for those around you. Do it for your loved ones and for yourselves.

Today, I would also like to praise our families, wherever they are, those who taught us what family means, and those who have always been there, cheering and believing in us. We are here today because of you.

Finally, congratulations class of 2016, now Masters in Business and in solidarity. Thank you for being an integral part of this incredible community that I am so deeply proud and grateful to belong to!

Parabéns e muito obrigada! Congratulations and thank you!


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