Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Into Harvard: Where Great Minds Meet


On this day, I was lucky to have witnessed the commencement ceremonies of the graduating batch of Harvard School, class 2013. Thanks to the power of the internet where everyone can view it live as it happens. It was a pleasant event where the greatest professors, alumni, parents and graduating students are gathered for a special occasion, which is to be recognized for the outstanding performance and excellence that they have shown for several years into one of the world's greatest  and respected educational institution-- The Harvard University. 

Graduate students of Harvard who came from all over the world are honored to have Oprah Winfrey as their Commencement Speaker. Known globally as Oprah, she used her celebrity status and media influence to inspire the graduates through her motivational speech. As how she projects her image on television, Oprah once again showed her energetic personality and charismatic appeal to deliver a highly effective speech that are substantial and meaningful. 

I watched the entire speech live via online streaming and I could feel the excitement that the live audience could have been felt on that moment. The message was short, yet powerful and full of positive emotion. Oprah got teary eyed since from the start until the end of her speech perhaps due to the recognition and trust given to her by the Harvard School  that through her success stories, she may be able to influence the mind of the future leaders that the Harvard has produced.

The message of Oprah was clear, and that is to dream of something big; accept failure, learn form mistakes and have the relentless determination to succeed. She gave a personal example about her biggest dream that the biggest media organizations in America dubbed as flopped or a failure. She was referring to her current media organization which she named as "Oprah Winfrey Network" or simply called "OWN". 


Since Oprah bid her farewell to her 25 years success of "The Oprah Winfrey Show", most people may have been dismayed and criticized her for her decision to build a media empire in her name. She admitted that at the first year, it was stressful and she was fully aware of the competition and at some point in time she felt embarrassed by the criticism thrown on her newly established network. However, she did not give up and pursue her dream to connect with her over 40 million viewers and followers globally. She promised herself to turn that network around.

From the last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to the opening of the "Oprah Winfrey Network" I followed her shows like "Lifeclass and the Next Chapter"  which aims to tap the mind of the world's most influential life coaches or life mentors and bring the discussion and learning of the 'world's largest classroom' for the benefit of the global audience through internet and the social media. 

"Lifeclassis my favorite show since it has taught me valuable lessons about life that I haven't learned at school. We learned so many subjects at school and we achieve academic success, yet we did not learn how to deal with the real life; how to cope with the challenges and how to win in a life's battle. It is in "Lifeclass" where I have learned the greatest teachings of Rick Warren, the author of the book "The Purpose Driven Life". I have listened from the talk of Joel Osteen, who is one of the most charismatic spiritual leader in America. I have also learned from an Indian Spiritual Guru, Deepak Chopra as he talks about spiritual topics and other significant teachers like Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Oz and Tonny Robbins. It was such a great insights coming from the most experienced teachers and leaders. 

Going back to Oprah's speech, she mentioned that one day she'll speak at Harvard and that day came where she uttered her statement "now I have turned that network around" such a courageous words that can lift up the spirit of the listeners. There's a certain enthusiasm in her statement that nothing is impossible if you have the persistence and faith in whatever that you wish to aim or accomplish. For the 2nd year of the "OWN" it is gaining popularity throughout the world especially now that she integrated it with the power of social media like facebook, twitter and youtube. It is now more convenient for followers to have an access to her shows at anytime and anywhere. 

I am also grateful to have been able to attend and complete the distance education course offered by Harvard to students from any countries in the world. I have registered for a short course on "Justice" and I was able to pass all the academic requirements including passing the quizzes and major exam. For few hours spent on the weekend, I was able to manage to attend the class via online streaming, the same thing as how the students on the live classroom is able to attend and hear the Professor. 

It was an indispensable knowledge I have learned from Professor Sandel who teaches the course on "Justice". It is on this course where I gained lessons on moral and political philosophy and how it is important towards the understanding of Governmental legislation and laws, to learn about the dilemmas and controversies created by existing philosophies and also to be guided by moral principles in living a good life. 

I have learned from the reasoning abilities of the students in a live discussion and how they present their ideas to defend their views or to express disagreement. The students in the live classroom at Harvard are truly world-class in their expressions of thoughts and they are the future leaders that the world needs. We need thinkers who can do innovative things for the welfare of the people. As an example, Bill Gates who is known as an undergraduate of Harvard is now making ways to influence the world through uplifting the living standards of the poorest individual and families in the poorest nations of the world. Like Oprah Winfrey, he is also using his massive wealth to bring back the services to the people who needs it most. For several centuries, the Harvard school has produced thousands of leaders in different fields of expertise and they are the game changer. But one thing that I admire to Oprah is when she said on her speech that you can become someone even if you're not a graduate of Harvard. She's referring to herself since she's not a product of the school. I agree on her that anyone can have the ability to influence people regardless of the academic institution you came from or even your social status and your religious beliefs. Oprah's message on this would mean 'you are what you think'. It's time to think more positively and have the courage in Changing Your Outlook in life. 

Before Oprah walked out of the Harvard campus, she was conferred with an honorary degree on Doctor of Law which is one of the highest academic recognition to someone with exemplary personality and a person of greater influence. Oprah at that moment upon receiving the degree became teary eyed for such warm recognition from the top rank university. Her dedication in doing philanthropic work most especially in education is highly commendable. Thousands of children, mostly in Africa are benefiting for a high quality education through her Angel Network. 

For now, I finally have completed my distance education course from Harvard. The learning is priceless and few days from now I will be receiving my certificate of mastery. Education doesn't end upon graduation in higher learning institution, but it is for a lifetime. Everyday is an opportunity to learn from shortcomings, from failure and eventually to succeed in life. In the end, there is a reward for hard work and dedication if we accept the challenges of How Failure Turned Into Success and become someone that we deserve in life.


© 2013 Del Cusay


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