Remarks given by Natasha Lie, Class of 2016, at the 2016 Senior Recognition Banquet.
The first thing I wanted to say was thank you to all the students, all the faculty. Even if we never talked, everyone in the BIC contributed to the community and it wouldn’t have been the same without you, so I’m very thankful for you. The second thing I want to say is thank you for putting up with me for four years! Give me five more minutes and you can be done with me.
So first, I would just like to quickly introduce myself. My name is Natasha, I’m 21 years old, and I’m from Houston, Texas. When Dr. Nogalski called me and told me I was doing a speech, I was trying to figure out how to start it and I was very tempted to just perform John Cage’s 4’33”, but I restrained myself. Maybe I should actually do something – because I was trying to think about the BIC and trying to understand what it has meant for me and how it’s affected me and I couldn’t really come up with the words. And the more I thought about it – I know a lot of us joke about the BIC being a cult, but I couldn’t really think of a better way to describe it. I feel like in freshman year I came and I was quiet and timid, and the BIC sort of silently crept up on me and possessed me to say all kinds of strange and confusing things. I don’t know how much I’ve given to the BIC that is any sort of useful, but I know that the BIC has given a lot to me, and one of the greatest lessons I think I’ve learned from the BIC is to appreciate people.
When I first joined the BIC, I was exposed to all of these different ideas and all of these ideas – there were so many contrasting ideas and I wasn’t sure how to reconcile all these thoughts. Sometimes I came across one opinion in one reading and I’d say, “Oh, that sounds like something I understand and I believe in,” and then I’d read a contrasting opinion and say, “Wait, there’s something there that I believe in too.” As I was more and more exposed to all these different ideas, I came to appreciate the fact that even if I disagreed with what was being said and what was being presented, this writer and this thinker gave their time and their effort to write down and to try to explain their thoughts to me, and cared enough to try to understand something about the world. I was really impressed and inspired by that and I’m so thankful that they’ve done that. Now whenever I talk to anyone who has disagreeing ideas with me, I feel like if I can find that passion within their argument and I can understand why they care so much about something that I don’t understand. That’s a way for me to relate to them. I think that’s really powerful. I can now have this desire to understand the passions behind what people think and why they believe in what they believe in.
That trying to understand passions has also bled a little bit into my life, because now I also try to consider my own thoughts and my own ideas and my own opinions and why they matter so much to me. That’s actually the reason why I decided to go to graduate school and to pursue a Ph.D., because I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to go into genetics, but I never understood why I liked it so much and why I cared. That really bothered me for the longest time. Through the BIC and through learning how to think about all these different issues, I came to understand that the reason that I care so much about genetics is because I want to understand the human condition, which is so pretentious, but there I am. I feel like if I hadn’t come to that conclusion I wouldn’t have been comfortable in going to graduate school, even though I knew I liked genetics.
And so, the BIC has manifested in me this mindset to consider different ideas and to listen, and to be patient and humble enough to try to understand others and to understand the ideas in the world and to come closer to the truth. I’m just so honored to have been able to have this experience and I’m so glad that I was a part of this program and I just want to say thank you again and good luck in all your future endeavors. Thank you.