Message to the Class of 2022

Our biggest ever graduation ceremony rounded off a very successful year for West Lothian College and nothing demonstrated that success better than the hundreds who graduated with the higher education skills that Scotland so badly needs.

Congratulations on achieving your qualification!

Many of you have moved on to the job you hoped for when you started your course. Many of you are now at university or continuing your education at college. And many of you have used the qualification you gained while working to go further in your career.

I would like to make a special mention of those who achieved higher level Scottish Vocational Qualifications last year while working as key workers in sectors like health and social care, and supporting us all through the pandemic.

But, some of you might not yet be doing what you’d hoped for after college. Try not to worry if things haven’t yet worked out as you planned. Your qualification is valuable and your education will count.

We’re living through uncertain and unsettling times. An advantage of being my age is that I’ve seen economic turmoil come and go over a number of decades.

When I graduated from college in 1991, the country was in the middle of a recession with interest rates and unemployment rising sharply. I didn’t get the graduate job I had hoped for and I did wonder if all my hard work was for nothing.

But I did get a job even though it wasn’t quite what I expected. I used the knowledge and skills gained through my qualification to grasp that opportunity and get the most out of it.

Remember, you are part of a generation of students who kept going through a pandemic that turned our world upside down.

You stuck with your qualification in really difficult times, many of you studying fully online for the whole year.

You showed you can adapt to change.

That took determination, hard work and grit. Build on that as you go through life. Some things will go wrong, some things will be tough and sometimes you’ll fail. Take Albert Einstein’s advice and “learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.”

A big part of sticking with college and achieving your qualification was the help you got from the people around you – college staff, your family and friends, and your classmates.

But, while others may have helped you, please remember that you were the main reason for your success. You did the hard work to achieve your qualification. And you kept going when times were tough.

We are so very proud of you. Be proud of yourself and that precious qualification you now have.

My advice for this next chapter in your life is to stay interested in whatever you do, keep learning and don’t be afraid of change. This will help you get the most out of life in a fast-moving, ever-changing world.

Invest time in keeping yourself mentally well so you can cope with any knocks you face and come out stronger.

And whatever you do in life, be kind, be fair and treat people the way you’d like to be treated yourself.

Thank you for choosing West Lothian College. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of your journey towards a happy and successful future.

Well done to every single one of you!

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