Speaking Words of Wisdom: Convocation Speaker Reflects
“If only I knew then, what I know now” is a frequent lament. With that in mind, the student speaker for the Aug. 19 New Student Convocation, Sinet Adous, will offer words of wisdom to fellow students as they begin their journey at Georgia Tech.
The event will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. at McCamish Pavillion, with all incoming undergraduates receiving a RAT cap, T-Book, and Georgia Tech pin. Parents and guests are welcome to attend.
Adous, a second-year international affairs major, was selected as the student speaker for New Student Convocation after submitting a video application.
“When I was a freshman sitting in the audience [at Convocation], I never thought that could be me on stage next year,” Adous said. “Then, I thought, ‘Sure. Why not?’”
Even if she had not been chosen to speak, Adous looked at the application process as a good way to reflect on her first year at Tech. She wanted to think of the insights that she gained during the year — things she wished she had known from the beginning.
“I wanted to speak to myself before speaking to a few thousand people,” she said. “I wanted to know if I could have talked to myself a year ago, what would I have wanted to know?”
Adous figured it out and put it in her speech.
“A common thread, not only in the speech but also in my life, is the idea of living authentically — pursuing whatever passion or carrying yourself throughout your community as your truest self,” Adous said. “It’s an underrated, hard thing to do. It’s something that I had told myself but I didn’t realize how hard it would be.”
A first-generation American whose parents are from Ethiopia, Adous defines authenticity as living in a way where one’s thoughts, beliefs, ideals, passions — the facets that are the building blocks of a person’s identity — are worn as if they are a crown.
“The root of every individual is their values and what they hold dear,” she said. “As you’re transitioning from home to this new life, the most important part is to carry your values with you.”
Adous said it is critical to hold on to what makes a person unique.
“It’s easy for us to ‘be ourselves’ behind closed doors or with a few people we trust,” she said. “But, if we can strive to carry that version of ourselves out into the world, and strive to be accepting of one another, then authenticity will eventually come with ease.”
Adous is spending the summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as an intern in the Commercial Leadership Program with GE Healthcare. She is rehearsing her speech under the guidance of Karen Head, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Naugle Communication Center, who personally coaches Tech’s Convocation and Commencement speakers.
“I do hope that what I have to share is impactful for the students,” Adous said.
Graduate students will be welcomed to Tech during a separate event, Graduate Student Welcome, held Wednesday, August 29. The inaugural event will include Graduate Convocation from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at McCamish Pavillion, immediately followed by a Graduate Student Picnic from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Tech Green.