At the BYU College of Engineering’s convocation, student speakers shared experiences of their academic trials and encouraged graduated students to continue to develop their skills and serve others.
Yazan Tuffaha, a manufacturing engineering student and speaker at convocation, shared his struggles associated with his status as an international student.
“I struggled to build friendships and I explained racism to some students. With all these factors comes academic stress. I was spiraling downward,” Tuffaha said.
Tuffaha’s father supported him throughout his challenging BYU experience.
“He reminded me that things were not going to be easy, and that’s going to take hard work and time. For me to find my best. He was absolutely right,” Tuffaha said.
Tuffaha concluded his speech with some final words of engineering wisdom.
“The point is not to fixate on the decisions on the outcomes of the past because they don’t want to change,” Tuffaha said.
Alexa Lowman-Tucker, a chemical engineering student and the second speaker, compared her academic challenges in the engineering program to her difficulties with the notorious south campus stairs.
“I often felt discouraged, feeling like I put in so much effort but it was not getting any easier,” Lowman-Tucker said.
She sympathized with other BYU students and explained the sometimes painful learning process.
“It doesn’t feel any easier only because you’re working so much harder. I thought about it and I realized that he was right. Without knowing, I was actually climbing the stairs a little bit faster every day,” Lowman-Tucker said.
Lowman-Tucker concluded with a challenge to the graduates.
“Use the growth that you’ve experienced here at BYU as a catalyst for change in your life, your family and your community,” Lowman-Tucker said.
The other graduating engineering students at the event expressed their gratitude for graduation as well.
“During, it all it seems really long but looking back, it’s been a great experience. It was really satisfying to go through it with my family and it’s been awesome,” said Kaleb Barker, who will go on to get his master’s in engineering.
Charlie Hamblin, a mechanical engineering graduate, summed up most of the graduates’ feelings.
“It’s a big, big relief — a sense of accomplishment for sure,” said Hamblin.