M’sian Student Shares Inspiring Story To 7,000 People At US Graduation

“Raise a glass to freedom. Raise a glass to all of us. Telling the story of today.” That was Lisa NurMarini Mohd Kamal’s opening graduation speech, a song from the famous Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’.

“Listening to the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack became my coping mechanism that would get me through the day.”

It’s been four years since Lisa left Malaysia to the United States on a Petronas scholarship to pursue her dream of studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). On 15th December 2019, she’s finally a graduate with a geology degree and was given the honour to be the student speaker on behalf of the graduating class at the university’s Winter Commencement ceremony.

Source: Bryan Richter/UW-Madison News

Her now-viral speech touched the crowd of more than 7,000 people, including the 1,200 graduates of bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees. Lisa’s speech that was uploaded online garnered views of 173,868 and counting!

“In 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 with things that would look good on my resume but I stopped feeling passion for anything I did or learned.”

Source: NBC15

But thanks to her support system at school, she managed to pull through! “I could not have finished college without the friends that I made here. They got me through a lot of late nights at the library,” she said in her speech.

Since then, she has been awarded with multiple recognitions. Lisa was the 2019 Hilldale undergraduate research fellowship, the university’s top research grand, to pursue her studies in electron microprobe analysis and the recipient of the “On To the Future” award for under-represented students in geosciences from the Geological Society of America.

Source: Shanzeh Ahmad/Wisconsin State Journal

In her speech, Lisa also congratulated the graduates saying, “There’s everyday human experiences that give weight and substance to the certificate you are about to receive”.

“Every sacrifice, every bit of energy 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.”

Congratulations, Lisa Kamal! You are an absolute inspiration to all!

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