Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff
One of the greatest pleasures of teaching at Mahidol (for over 30 years now) has been the opportunity to meet a lot of really great students and in some cases to hear a little about your lives after you left our university. You have been a very diverse bunch. As students, some of you were impressive academically, some for your sense of humour, and others for your perseverance in the face of difficulties. I have been delighted with your successes — particularly perhaps when you have found my courses difficult and had to repeat them a couple of times before you got the good grade you wanted.
It’s always good to hear about your successes after you leave MUIC too, whether on Facebook or when I have encountered former students on the Skytrain or a shoping mall. Sometimes, you were kind enough to say that my teaching had actually been really useful for you. I remember one man who told me that the old intro to Psychology course I used to teach had changed his approach to life so much that he had abandoned his intended career in business and gone into medicine instead, becoming an obviously dedicated doctor. Another said that he had forgotten everything he had studied in his major but rembered instead the General Education classes that one of my former colleagues (a philosopher) and myself had taught, adding that they were so challenging that he reckoned that “after Smith and Freeland” he could face anything.
Some of my former students have gone on to distinguish themselves in a wide variety of careers — including a few who didn’t do particularly well academically when they were my students but have really excelled in their chosen occupations in the wider world. Others have clearly become devoted and hard working parents — one of the most important ‘careers’ anyone can undertake.
My view is that each of my students has their own particular strengths and capacities, and that my job is simply to encourage them as best i can to do their own best — whatever that may be. Life is often not easy, of course, so I share two of my favourite movie quotes: the first (from Long Kiss Goodnight), “Life is pain. Get used to it!”, and the second (from Galaxy Quest), “Never give up! Never surrender!” [Both excellent movies by the way].
So let me pay tribute to a lot of really nice people. It was good to meet you, and i want to wish you all the very best for your future lives. May you be happy and successful in whatever your good dreams may be. Be a credit to yourselves and to your families!