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WGU Graduate Speaker, Junne Lim
WGU Graduate Speaker, Junne Lim
Western Governors University
<p>Saturday, February 9, 2019 WGU Commencement in Orlando, Florida. Junne Lim was a graduate speaker at the WGU Master's Commencement. Junne Lim earned a Master of Business Administration degree.</p> <p>I would now like to introduce our graduate speakers. They are: Jennifer Knaack, Master of Science, Nursing Leadership and Management from Becker, Minnesota. And Junne Lim, Master of Business Administration from Kissimmee, Florida. Please join me in welcoming first to the lectern, Jennifer. [Applause] </p> <p>Junne Lim: Surprise Mom and Dad! [Laughter] My parents didn't know they were actually attending my commencement ceremony today. They also didn't know I was pursuing my MBA. They live about 30 minutes away, so I told them, "Meet me at Disney. Dress nice. You're coming for a photo shoot." [Laughter] Hi, Mom and Dad! Say hi to the cameras. [Cheers and applause] </p> <p>Very few people knew that I was working on a master's degree. My fiancé, Yasmina, was one of those who knew. I can't wait to marry you next month. [Cheers and applause] We spent countless hours in the library together, both of us taking classes. And I remember while I was working on financial accounting, she would ask me which of the shade of blue would match with coral/salmon/blush/pink bride's maid dress. [Laughter] I couldn't give her an answer, but luckily there have been no bridezilla moments. [Knocks on podium] </p> <p>The second person who knew was my WGU program mentor, Stephanie Robinson. Stephanie, I know you're in Arizona right now, and I hope you're watching. But thank you so much for your guidance. Without your help, I don't think I would've been able to be here at this time. I know towards the end there, it kind of got difficult, but you kept me going, and kept me to persevere. I really felt supported during my time at WGU. </p> <p>So why did I keep this a secret from so many people, even my parents? More than anything, I wanted to surprise them and make them proud. They're both very successful in their professions, and my challenges pale in comparison to theirs. Actually my family came from a little town called Bohol, Philippines. We didn't have much growing up. In fact, my mom had to work overseas for most of my childhood. We missed each other for eight years while she was in Saudi Arabia and the United States. She wanted to do this so me and my siblings can go to nicer schools and have a brighter future. </p> <p>In a developing country, back then, our means of affordable communication were these small recorded cassette tapes. What I would've given to have Skype or Facetime back in the day. I remember we would receive these tapes in the mail, usually about a month after it was recorded. At the time, my dad, my sister, and I would huddle up in our rooms, hit "play" and listen to that radio to hear my mom's voice. We'd flip the cassette tape and listen to her some more. And at the end, we would also reply with our own recording. We'd hit "record," pretend she was in front of us, and talk to the radio. I actually don't know how she would understand those tapes because mostly it was just my sister and I arguing about what to say. [Chuckles] It was hard not to see her for those eight years. However, the plight of many immigrants was that they usually have to leave their families behind in search for a brighter future. </p> <p>In the year 2000, my dad joined my mom and immigrated to the United States to also look for better job opportunities. At that time, my sister and I were entering high school and middle school. They wanted to keep sending us to these nicer schools so they wanted to work abroad so they could afford it. At that time, we were living with my grandparents and my uncles and aunts. Some of them are here today. Thank you for taking very good care of us. [Applause] </p> <p>It wasn't long after that when my family was fortunate to migrate to the United States. We settled in a little town called Lakehurst, New Jersey. Because they prioritized education when I was a child, I was actually fortunate enough to graduate high school at the age of 16. I remember they had to drop me off to college every day because then I only had a learner's permit. [Laughter] </p> <p>At the time, college was tiring. It was very expensive, and I hated being dropped off to school. I mean, we're in America now, I've made it, right? So I quit. I mean I've got mostly jobs that I've applied to, so I just stopped going to school. After a few years, I realized I really didn't make the most of my opportunities here in the land of opportunities. I felt like I've wasted away all my parents' sacrifice. I wanted a second chance at education, my key to unlocking real opportunities. </p> <p>When we moved to Florida in 2007, I wanted to get into the health care field. I applied and got a job as a housekeeper. I've held many positions in health care since, and along the way, I was able to obtain my bachelor's in health service administration. I now currently manage a financial services team at a children's hospital called Nemours here in central Florida. [Applause] </p> <p>I'm sharing my story because I wanted to share why I went back to school. In fact, I went to Google for advice about how best to share it. Google told me to say an inspirational quote, but then I got distracted by inspirational memes. [Laughter] So let me just leave you with this: To my fellow graduates, today, let's remember why we are here. Some of you may have earned your degree for your parents. Some of you may have done it for your spouse. Some of you may have done it for your children. Some of you may be doing it for yourselves. So here's to us, and here's to them, we've made it. Congratulations. [Applause] </p>
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