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Rated: E · Other · Biographical · #2014178
For my Honorary Doctorate - to be given on 14th Oct 2014
Thank you very much Professors.

It is a true privilege to stand up here today and accept this Honorary Doctorate.

Five years ago, I sat where you all are today, waiting to graduate. It was without doubt one of the proudest moments of my life and I’ve had a few!

Until about eight and a half years ago, if anyone asked me about my education, I just went quiet. I wasn’t proud of it. I’d failed exams and had been turned down from numerous courses. I was going nowhere fast, apart from in the pool, of course.

Then one day in August 2006, two people - who sit behind me today - gave me a chance. They were willing to let me do the Social Policy degree here at ARU.

It was this chance and my time at ARU that gave me the confidence to be successful. Not only academically, but in the work I do now. Work I truly never believed I could do. Work I now love.

There’s a big world out there, and it can be hard to deal with. However, if you, the new graduates, are ever given a chance, or an opportunity, take it. It may well be the best thing you ever do.

I very rarely stop dreaming and I very rarely take no for an answer. People have said no to me on numerous occasions. But the foundations of my success so far lie upon the fact that no is not an option. Some accuse me of being stubborn. I call it being determined.

Dreams are not something to be ashamed of. Dreams are a catalist for moving forward and getting what you want and deserve.

When people who ask me how they can be successful, I simply say: Keep dreaming, keep working hard towards those dreams and, one day, you will win!

I will never forget the opportunities ARU gave me - I will be eternally grateful. To be recognised in this way, is simply the icing on the cake.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
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