UW–Madison 2019 Winter Commencement – Student Speaker: Lisa Kamal
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UW–Madison 2019 Winter Commencement – Student Speaker: Lisa Kamal


It’s now my pleasure to introduce our student
speaker, Lisa Kamal, who will offer remarks on behalf of the graduating class. Raised
in Malaysia, Lisa had never been to Wisconsin before arriving to UW-Madison as a freshman.
Yet few students have embraced what we call the Wisconsin Experience as fully as Lisa.
She threw herself not only into her studies, but also got involved with many other enriching
opportunities we offer here both in and outside the classroom. A geology major, Lisa earned
numerous honors for her academic work, including a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship,
the university’s top research grant. The Geological Society of America saw Lisa’s potential, too,
presenting her with its “On to the Future” award for underrepresented students in geosciences.
Outside of her major, Lisa has explored her creative side through performing arts, especially
dance classes. And like so many of you, she is leaving campus better than she found it.
Through her work with the Malaysian Students Association, she helped bring back and invigorate
Malaysian Night, an annual cultural celebration. She participated herself in the productions,
singing, dancing and acting. After commencement, Lisa will be returning to Malaysia to work
for an oil and gas corporation owned by the government. I am pleased to invite Lisa to
offer remarks on behalf of the graduating class. [ Applause ]>>Lisa Kamal: Thank you, Provost Scholz,
for that kind introduction. Thank you, Chancellor Blank, senior class officers for this incredible
honor. [Singing] Raise a glass to freedom, raise a glass to all of us, telling the story
of today. [ Applause ] In my junior year of college, Listening to
the “Hamilton” sound track became my coping mechanism that would get me through the day.
In case you don’t know the musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it tells the story
of an orphan and immigrant who became one of the Founding Fathers of America. After
listening to the album, I dove into the fandom, memorized all of the songs while walking to
class, and waiting for the bus, and before I went to sleep. I came here on a scholarship,
a long way from my home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This opportunity to be here, at the prestigious
University of Wisconsin–Madison, did not come easy or cost little, for any of us. My hopeful
freshman self had started out college with big dreams. I wanted to make the most of my
time here because just like Hamilton, there’s a million things I haven’t done. In the beginning,
the unknown was exciting. Remember those days? I could justify struggling in Calculus, or
chemistry, because, I was only a freshman. And I thought, by the time I am a senior,
I’ll be a pro at everything. But as students, we juggle a lot on our plates. We juggle our
studies, relationships with friends and family, and in my case, most of them were abroad,
separated by a 14-hour time difference. Most importantly, we work towards the promise of
a great future for ourselves. While I was carrying the expectations of many, the heaviest
ones were my own. When I didn’t meet them, the person I disappointed the most was myself.
My second year in college, I suffered burnout to the point of losing motivation to finish
this degree. I’d overwhelmed myself past my breaking point. I kept chasing things that
would look good on my resume, but I stopped feeling passion for anything I did or learned.
And the truth was, all I wanted to do was sleep all the time. I was so desperate to
find the spark of enthusiasm, the same one we all overflowed with at the beginning, only
to feel so helpless. But friends, look at where you are, look at where you started.
You made it here to the last act. You did it day after day. You made the choice to rise
up and give yourself another chance to start over every single morning. And for me, I sang
like my life was a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. And believe me, you did not throw
away your shot. Because, if you graduated having completed most of your course work,
from the comfort of your own bed staring into your laptop, you made it. I see you. If you
graduated having spent all hours of the day in the library or evenings in coffee shops,
you made it. I see you. Or, if you are anywhere in between, you made it. I see you. There’s
everyday human experiences that give weight and substance to the certificate you are about
to receive. Every sacrifice, every bit of energy that you dragged out of you every morning,
even if all you managed to do was scratch the bare minimum, you are here today, you
are graduating today, and I am proud of you. I am immensely proud of you! Now at the end,
I look back and keep thanking God, teachers, and mentors, mental health counselors at the
University Health Services. My family and friend who helped carry me through till today.
I thank Lin-Manuel Miranda for writing his songs, and helping me finish my Nina story,
and for reimagining diverse representations on the Broadway stage. Madison, I’ll miss
your winters, your sunsets, your super frozen lakes. But I look forward to the future that
the University of Wisconsin has prepared me for. I love this school with all my heart.
My fellow graduates, as you proudly leave this campus, remember the dark moments that
shaped us from the ground up, the good times that we are grateful for, and the person we
became because of it. [Singing] We’re going to teach them how say good-bye, say good-bye, one last time. Congratulations, Badgers. (applause)

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100 thoughts on “UW–Madison 2019 Winter Commencement – Student Speaker: Lisa Kamal

  1. Tak kira dari mana kita datang, ilmu sentiasa menatasi segala kekangan dan segala perkara yang mustahil. Mashallah, Malaysian proud of you LISA❤️

  2. I tripped into this video because of the name… Lisa Kamal… not knowing who she is…Good speech from a bright Malaysian Malay girl… Congratulation to Lisa.. Congratulation to Malaysia… Sincerely from a fellow Malay Singaporean… ✌️

  3. Hello Lisa, u makes us Malaysian proud of you. Wonderful n a cheerful speech…well done Lisa, keep the good spirits up n always. Thanks you Lisa..

  4. ".. even if all you managed to do was scratch the bare minimum …. ".
    as a person who grad cukup-cukup makan & now pursuing what my uni prepared me for ..
    well, Lisa Kamal.. i see u too 😘😘

  5. Congratulation Lisa ! I am looking forward to your sharing about your successness, every hardship that you had been through, how you overcame it and some tips from you. I know that every great achievement always has huge challenges behind. I hope there will be any media will interview you as I really eager to know it.

  6. Kalau sy x tengok mukanya,sy sangka American yg bercakap, rupanya gadis melayu, tahniah Lisa anda telah mengharumkan nama Malaysia, semoga menjadi contoh kpd pelajar Malaysia

  7. Woww amazing speech by great Malaysian. You did it Lisa! We wish you a better future with your intelligence and hard work. ❤

  8. One of the most inspiring and heartwarming speeches I've ever listened to. Great job! What an inspiration to the youth.

  9. I want to be like her, to be able to finish my degree with honour as her. Oh I wish. Your sweet voice is very mesmerizing to listen to, even for hours.

    You are very inspiring Liza Kamal.

  10. I don’t know why I’m crying, watching and listening to her speech 🥺 May all of us got this kind of spirit, to stay strong in everything that we do, and try to give our best in achieving what we want. Congrats Lisa Kamal, you inspired all of us a lot! ❤️

  11. “Look at where you are, look at where you started. You made it here to the last act. You did it day after day. You made the choice to rise up and give yourself another chance to start over every single morning.” ❤️

  12. We see you with happiness and cheerful words. We see you with full of politeness and yet so proud in uttering your true feelings. We see you Lisa..we see you

  13. Bravo, NurMarini Mohd Kamal (also known as Lisa) for delivering a very inspiring message on behalf of the cohort of Malaysian students about your unwavering, resiliency to bounce back up whenever you faced adversity! You come across as someone who is cheerful, confident, and fluent in English, and you're ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. I commend you for being bold enough to deliver an eloquent speech in your second language in front of a large crowd.

  14. U Wisconsin at Madison is one of the few top "Public Ivy" research universities in America, which has 25 Nobel laureates and 50 Olympic medals associated with it. Established in 1848 in Wisconsin, the same time the State joined the United States, on a huge land-grant campus of nearly 1,000 acres, it remains the top university in Wisconsin to this day. The motto of this great institution of higher learning is, "God our light, the divine within the universe, however manifested, is my light." Kudos to Wisconsin Badgers!

  15. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  16. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  17. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  18. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  19. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  20. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  21. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  22. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  23. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  24. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  25. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  26. Congratulations Malaysia, Congratulations Malaysia. Malaysia Maju Jaya, Malaysia Maju Jaya. Salam from Singapore to Malaysia Citizen. 🇸🇬🇲🇾

  27. i use big screen, i can see clearly her teeth is yellow. this is due heavy caffeine usage, i bet she consume hell a lot of caffeinated beverage during her college.

  28. Enhorabuena para usted, la señorita Lisa. Ha sido un gran ejemplo a los malasios 🇲🇾 Que nada puede detener cuando hay pasión y voluntad para seguir adelante. Que hoy siembras, mañana te den buenos resultados. Tahniah adik! 😊

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