导读
毕业典礼历来是大学生涯中的华彩乐章,能代表所有应届毕业生上台演讲是无比荣耀的事。经过层层选拔,耶鲁大学2020届毕业典礼,华裔学生Joy Qiu不负众望被推举为学生代表发言。
毕业于著名的伊州数理高中IMSA,Joy Qiu 进入耶鲁大学数学系并以优异成绩毕业,同时获得教育研究证书。她是Summa Cum Laude荣誉生,在校期间担任华裔学生会主席。
什么是耶鲁大学的精髓?Joy在演讲中进行了深刻的反思。令人欣喜的是,她对自己华裔身份的重新认识,让我们看到美国华裔二代觉醒和进取的力量。
由于瘟疫大流行,耶鲁大学2020届毕业典礼不得不改为网上进行。以下是演讲视频并附中文翻译,译者晖园。
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cczpbpkJ9EQ
2020届毕业生们,大家好!我们将于本周毕业,以一种谁也不曾预想到的方式。三月疫情爆发校园关闭,我们不得不仓促离校。来不及收拾行李;未能做最后含泪的告别;更无法穿上毕业礼服,在万众瞩目中穿过礼台,接受毕业文凭。但是在接下来短短的六天时间内,我们将正式成为耶鲁大学历史的一部分,身份将由在读生转变成2020届耶鲁毕业生。在这前所未有的时代,失去了我们所珍视的传统毕业仪式,那毕业到底还有什么意义呢?
COVID-19不仅在实际形式上、还通过多种方式把我们班级连根拔起。它瓦解了我们对毕业季欢欣鼓舞又苦乐参半的期望,它消除了我们习以为常的连续性和稳定感。对我们许多人来说,这场大瘟疫将动荡、困苦和悲剧带进了我们的生活中。
我并不想淡化局势的严重性,但令人欣慰的是,虽然冠状病毒偷窃了我在耶鲁大学十六分之一的时光,虽然大学结束过程变幻莫测,但我在耶鲁的收获却丰丰盛盛,最后几周不能也不应根本改变耶鲁大学对我们的影响,以及过去四年中大部分时间对我们的意义。
耶鲁到底意味着什么?我们现在比以往任何时候都有责任去反思和探索。成为耶鲁人意味着什么?是什么使我们的班级联系在一起?失去传统毕业仪式,使我们痛苦不堪、惺惺相惜。除此之外,还有什么让我们产生共鸣?
我的答案?没你想的那么复杂。诚然,我们都是人类,现在受过高等教育并享有特权,但是除了过去四年占据相同的物理空间之外,试图将我们以某种基本的“耶鲁”方式统一或类化简直就是天方夜谭。
亮点
耶鲁到底意味着什么?我们现在比以往任何时候都有责任去反思和探索。成为耶鲁人意味着什么?是什么使我们的班级联系在一起?
让我告诉您有关AACC(亚裔美国人文化中心)的故事。在这里我遇到了最好的朋友;我花了无数的时间为美籍华裔学生协会策划活动。在火锅之夜和农历舞会上,我写书法、吃糯米饭,以全新方式来庆祝自己的华裔身份。毫无疑问,AACC一直是我耶鲁经历中最不可或缺的部分。
三年级临近结束的时候,我和你们中的许多人一样,决定加入一个毕业班社团。按照惯例,开始我们所有人围成一圈,彼此分享隐私话题。我选择谈论AACC及其对我的意义。那天晚上,我第一次遇到一个不知何谓AACC的人,令我顿时无语。我异常惊讶,这个活力四射的成熟社团,对我个人而言意义非凡,可对他和任何其他耶鲁人来说却闻所未闻。真的,对我来说,如果没有AACC,耶鲁将不是耶鲁。
从那时起,我开始质疑凝聚和统一耶鲁的想法。我对耶鲁的概念是基于我的个人体验,就像我的朋友不知道AACC是什么一样,我也不了解耶鲁大学那些为明年成为职业运动员而刻苦训练的人;那些住得离校园足够近,可以周间开车回家吃顿晚餐的人;或者那些几乎每天都到Harkness Tower里的佛教寺庙冥想的人。
即便我们使用的词语也能让人产生不同的联想:说起“Foot”这个词,您想到是“英寸”还是“阿巴拉契步道”?听到“Zoo”时,脑海中闪现出“免费打印”吗?当我说起“AACC”时,您是否想到“家”?
这样的认知使我对耶鲁人不同的人生轨迹充满感恩。正是认识到这一点让我顿悟:我们共同拥有某些特性或能分享任何事情的想法显得有些天真。
也许我很难让您信服,因为如果描绘那些一起周而复始通过Zoom上网课的朋友和同学们,我们的生活交汇点和共享经验是如此鲜活和真实,我对此毫不怀疑。与您同住的大约有10个人;通过课外活动认识50或100个朋友;在课堂上、健身房里或食堂排队打饭时遇到数百人……
但实际上,在2020届学生中,几乎有上千人我从未荣幸地说上一句话。无论耶鲁对我意味着什么,也无论我住过什么地方,您在耶鲁的经历中都有一些我可能无法想象的。当然,成为耶鲁人有特别的意义:这意味着您在今后15年中遇到耶鲁校友时,可以争论哪所是最好的住宿学院,并嘲笑Zoom大学;您可以回想一下哈佛-耶鲁的撤资抗议或您最喜欢的GHeav三明治;又或者是斯特林图书馆在冬天初雪时如何漂亮。但除了参与这些相同的耶鲁传统并能分享其中的一些表层记忆外,我们在耶鲁的生活经历有如此巨大的差异。人们误认为有一些核心品质将耶鲁人团结在一起,事实上没有。
我这样的说法似乎令人沮丧,但并非如此。相反,这种观点令人为之一振。因为选择相信我们缺乏共同点,却从另一方面说明,耶鲁大学如此诱人,在这里呆了4年足以将我们锤炼成不分彼此、水乳相融。
作为一所大学,耶鲁向我们展示了“美好生活”的版本,弥足珍贵。诸如:声望、学术卓越、效率、专业成功、批判性思维和公民话语权等。
亮点
人们误认为有一些核心品质将耶鲁人团结在一起,事实上没有。我这样的说法似乎令人沮丧,但并非如此。相反,这种观点令人为之一振。
这些全都是优秀品质。但是,如果我们所有人在耶鲁的旅程中只是像海绵一样吸收这些技能、价值观和个性特征,那就变得非常可怕。当我们相聚别处时,我们已经失去了曾经的自己而变成了相似的人——充满了耶鲁经典的主流价值观——我可以站在这里,发表关于如何团结大家的演讲。
令人兴奋的是,我们的与众不同远胜于团结统一,因为这意味着我们在过去共有的时空中做出了有意识的选择。
更具体地讲,我想请您花些时间思考一下我们刚刚踏进校园时的景况,这是我们生命中最确定,也最不确定的时刻之一。我们对耶鲁满怀憧憬;我们迫不及待地想要尝试新鲜事物;我们雄心勃勃而又激情四射;我们充满希望有时却心生恐惧。我们带着已建立的身份认同和信仰体系来到耶鲁大学。
今天站在这里,我可以告诉您,有些愿望没能实现。我做过令自己感到惊讶的事,也拥有令人难以置信的经历,我结交了朋友并留下难忘的回忆,即便有人用全世界来交换我也不情愿。说一个私人话题,我与四年前不是同一个人。也许这显而易见,因为很明显,但它是最值得反思的事情。上大学之前的什么被保留了下来,又有什么改变了?
在耶鲁大学,我更多地接触到自己的传承;我不惧怕别人论断我喜欢或不喜欢的事;我更清楚自己会如何冒险。今天站在这里,耶鲁大学赋予我的经历,使我的身份和价值观得到了放大、挑战、改变和丰富。我相信对我们所有人来说也是如此。耶鲁大学给我们的不仅仅是获得一系列传统和特权的机会,以及“耶鲁人”一词的称号,更是使我们有机会找到一个更完整,更真实的自己。
无论花多长时间才感觉到耶鲁像家,也无论花整晚是在Bass图书馆读书,或是在Toads跳舞亦或是在Stiles F41中大笑至两颊生痛为止,这都是我们在这所学校里通过选择得到的充满魔力的体验,从根本上改变我们,却又使我们保持初心。
结论是什么?我无权站在这里概括我们的集体经验,因为它们如此不同。希望那都是经由选择的有意义的探索。当过往经历磨砺我们时,希望我们每一个人力争成为更好版本的自己,坚定信念、珍视价值观。15年后,当这场大瘟疫远远抛在我们脑后,而您又回想起光明的大学岁月时,就不仅仅为成为耶鲁人感到自豪,而是为耶鲁塑造您成为的人感到自豪。
亮点
耶鲁大学给我们的不仅仅是获得一系列传统和特权的机会,以及“耶鲁人”一词的称号,更是使我们有机会找到一个更完整,更真实的自己。
英文原文:
Hi, Class of 2020. We’re graduating this week. Not in a way that we ever expected, but we are graduating nonetheless. There will be no frantic packing of bags; there will be no final, tearful goodbyes; no one is going to walk across any stage. But in 6 days’ time we will nonetheless officially become part of Yale’s history, trading in our identities as current students to emerge as graduates of the Yale College Class of 2020. In these unprecedented times, in the complete absence of traditions we hold dear, what does it really mean to graduate?
In more ways than just physically, COVID-19 has uprooted our Class. It disintegrated our expectations for a joyous and bittersweet Senior Spring. It dissolved a sense of constancy and stability that we never knew we were taking for granted. For many of us, this pandemic has introduced uncertainty, hardship, and tragedy into our lives. 
Without diminishing the gravity of the situation, I find comfort in the fact that my time at Yale means more than the 1/16th that coronavirus stole. It’s hard not to let the ending color the journey. But these last few weeks cannot and should not fundamentally change what Yale means to us, and what it has meant to us for the better part of the past 4 years.
And what exactly does Yale mean? The onus is on us, now more than ever, to reflect and find what matters. What does it mean to be a Yalie? What brings our class together? Beyond the emotional bond forged from the pain of loss, what do we all share?
My answer? Not as much as you might think. Admittedly, we’re all human, and now more educated and privileged, but beyond occupying the same physical space for almost four years, the idea that we’re unified or similar in some fundamentally “Yale” way is a myth. 
Let me tell you a story about the AACC, the Asian American Cultural Center. It’s the place I met my very best friends, where I spent countless hours planning events for the Chinese American Students Association. It’s the place I found new ways to celebrate my identity, at Hotpot Night and Lunar Ball, writing calligraphy and eating sticky rice. Without a doubt, the AACC has been one of the most integral parts of my Yale experience.
At the end of my junior year, I, like many of you, decided to join a senior society. As is customary, we all gathered in a circle at initiation to share intimate parts of our lives with each other. I chose to talk about the AACC and everything that it’s meant to me. And that night, for the very first time, I met someone who didn’t know what the AACC was.
For a moment, I was speechless. Amazed that this vibrant and formative community, so personal to me, could be completely foreign to him--and to any Yalie, really, because to me, Yale isn’t Yale without the AACC.
That’s when I began to question the idea of a cohesive and unified Yale. My conception of Yale is just that--it’s mine. And just as my friend didn’t know what the AACC was, I had no idea what Yale looks like for someone training to become a professional athlete next year, for someone who lives close enough to drive home for a weekday dinner, or for someone who meditates almost every day in the Buddhist shrine inside Harkness Tower.
And even the words we use: Does “Foot” bring to mind inches, or the Appalachian Trail? When you hear “zoo,” do you think “free printing”? And when I say “AACC,” do you think “home”?
It’s realizations like these that make me fully appreciate the different lives that people here lead. And it’s these realizations that convince me: believing we could all share something, anything, real? That has to be a myth.
Maybe it’s hard to believe me when I say that, because if you picture the friends and classmates you’ve been Zooming week in and week out and think about the intersections of your lives, your shared experiences will feel so salient and so real. I don’t doubt that. There’s the 10 or so people you’ve lived with. The 50 or 100 friends you’ve met through extracurriculars. The hundreds more you’ve met in class, in the gym, waiting in line at the dining hall…
But the truth is, there are almost a thousand of you in the Class of 2020 that I’ve never had the pleasure of exchanging a single word with. And whatever Yale means to me, whatever spaces I’ve inhabited, there are parts of your Yale experiences that I can’t possibly begin to conceive of. Sure, it means something to be a Yalie. It means that in 15 years when you encounter someone who also went to Yale, you can squabble over the best residential college and laugh about Zoom University; you can reminisce about the divestment protests at Harvard-Yale or your favorite GHeav sandwich or how pretty Sterling looks at winter’s first snowfall. But the truth is, aside from participating in these same Yale traditions and sharing in some of these surface-level memories, our lived experiences at Yale are so wildly different that it would be a bit misguided to believe there is some core quality about being a Yalie that unites us all. The truth is, there isn’t.
This may seem depressing. But it’s not. This perspective is actually kind of uplifting. Because the alternative to believing that we share nothing in common would be to believe that Yale is so seductive that 4 years here is enough to hammer part of our identities into shapes completely indistinguishable from each other.
As an institution, Yale sells us a version of the “Good Life”—things that we should value. Things like: Prestige. Academic excellence. Productivity. Professional success. Critical thinking and civil discourse.
These can all be good things; they can. But it would be so, so horrible if we all journeyed through Yale like sponges, absorbing these skills and values and personality traits so that when we emerge on the other end, we’ve lost the fibers of who we once were and are similar enough--so saturated with things that are classically mainstream Yale--that I could stand up here and give a speech about what unites us all.
It’s uplifting to believe that there’s infinitely more that distinguishes than unites us, because it means that we made conscious choices in occupying the spaces that we did.
To put this more concretely, I want you to take a moment and think about who we were as prefrosh: Probably excited, and also hopeful, at one of the most certain and also uncertain points of our lives. As prefrosh, we had a certain set of expectations for what Yale would be like. We had new things we wanted to try, we had ambitions and passions, we had hopes and fears. We came to Yale with an established belief system and identity.
Standing here today, I can tell you that I failed to meet some of my expectations. I did things that surprised myself. I had incredible experiences, and made friends and memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. But the thing that feels most personal to tell is that I’m not the same person that I was four years ago. Maybe that’s obvious—because it is obvious—but it’s also the most important thing to reflect on. What’s stayed since you were a prefrosh, and what hasn’t?
Because of Yale, I am more in touch with my heritage. I am less afraid of being judged for what I like and don’t like. I know better what adventures I’d find fulfilling. Standing here today, my identity and values have been amplified, and challenged, and altered, and enriched because of Yale and the experiences I had. I believe that the same is true for all of us. Yale gave us more than just access to a set of traditions and privilege, a claim to the term “Yalie.” Yale gave us the opportunity to find a fuller, more authentic version of ourselves.
No matter how long it took for Yale to feel like home, whether you spent your nights p-setting in Bass, dancing in Toads, or laughing until your sides hurt in Stiles F41, the chosen and eclectic experiences we’ve had at this institution have fundamentally changed who we are, without compromising who we are.
So what’s the point? I have no right to stand here and generalize about all of our collective experiences, because they were all different. Hopefully they were experiences we pursued with intention, that we had the agency to choose. And as those experiences tried to change us, hopefully we fought to become better versions of ourselves, with greater conviction in who we are and what we value. So in fifteen years, when this pandemic is far behind us and you’re thinking back to your bright college years, don’t just be proud to be a Yalie. Be proud of the person that Yale shaped you to become.
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