Our lovely and talented paralegal Stacie Gin was the valedictorian of her graduating class and gave the student address at  the convocation ceremony of the School of Legal Studies at Capilano University yesterday.  Stacie received accolades from the Dean and instructors, including “you are one of the best students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching – you are smart, kind, and a real team player.”  We are incredibly proud of Stacie and very lucky to have her as part of our team! Stacie’s remarks were as follows:

“My sister used to love the show “Dawson’s Creek”. And though you may be loath to admit it, I know many of you know what I’m talking about. She would surround herself with the show, including putting up posters of Pacey and Joey in her room, inadvertently covering up her unicorn wallpaper. My brother would groan and complain when he would hear the familiar “I Don’t Wanna Wait” theme song, though I think he probably liked it more than he let on. And I think she even modeled her life against the drama she watched unfold on the tv. It’s an interesting concept: that we can submerse ourselves so deeply into fiction.

The point of this is not so much to make fun of my sister, or to conjure up mental images of James Van Der Beek – but to revisit how transient things become that once seemed so important to us. The shows get cancelled, people grow up, Katie Holmes – well, let’s not get into that. I suppose all we can really depend on is that things change and we evolve.

And the world has changed in magnificent and terrifying ways! The technological age practically demands us to expect instant gratification. There’s an overwhelming sense of immediacy, simply because we’ve created a world where everything comes to us with very little difficulty. We literally ‘don’t wanna wait’. If this were not enough, not only are we expecting immediate results to our
incessant commands, but we also demand perfection. This expectation compels us to impetuously live in a fantasy. In fact, it sometimes seems that we’ve developed ourselves in such a way that fantasy and the fantastic have overlapped themselves with what reality once was. This is vaguely reminiscent of my sister fashioning her life from Dawson’s Creek. But these ideologies enter our minds as though completely natural. Our authenticity has dissolved into a whirlwind of pixels and mega-bytes.

You see, the instructors here at Cap still urge us to use the library! I mean, they should, as it has a wealth of resources, and there are merits to this seemingly old fashioned way of studying. But more and more the medium of books on paper becomes a dying vehicle. It’s been suggested that modernity is all about using the fast-forward button, and that the humanities research is like pressing pause.
Perhaps our studies here at Cap are like a pause button before the fast-forward nature of entering the real world. Maybe it’s about the responsibility of understanding the circumstances. Maybe it’s about being prepared. A book takes so long to publish that by the time anyone actually reads it, it’s obsolete. But – some things persist. The importance of education remains with us and reaffirms its prevalence continuously. I speak these words of our inherent impatience while underlining that though so much of our lives is consumed with immediacy and perfection, here we remain, completing university degrees and diplomas in which we’ve spent countless hours investing and enriching our minds. Here we are: understanding that perfection – while lovely and ostensibly ideal – is not necessarily required in order to succeed at betterment.

This patience, and this acknowledgement of our weaknesses bring us together today, amidst the chaos of the external, to celebrate. I urge you to embrace the fact that not everything must come to us easily, and to value all of life’s imperfections. The education that we’ve now equipped ourselves with is something with permanency. In this all too transient world – yes, James Van Der Beek, I’m talking about you – we can bask in finding and attaining something that shapes our future and will remain with us. If time is a commodity, and slipping from our very grasp, then we must congratulate ourselves for choosing to use our time to attend this university and learn.

If the faculty and administration of the Department of Legal Studies here at Cap is a good cross-section and representation for the rest of the university, then I can say with great confidence that we are all unreservedly fortunate to have studied here. And by this, I don’t only mean the instructors, who were remarkably stellar, by the way, but I also refer to my classmates, who challenged and  encouraged each other. I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to reflect on my time here. On behalf of the graduates, I wish to express unending gratitude for all the support we’ve received from all avenues, including ourselves.”