Remarks given by Ruddy Tchao, Class of 2016, at the Senior Recognition Banquet in April 2016.
Good evening. First, I want to thank you for selecting me as our BIC class’ male representative. I’m honored to be selected by my peers, yet this moment is bittersweet. It marks the beginning of the end of a monumental chapter in my life, and as I’m sure, yours as well. As we prepare to turn the page, I want to add a few footnotes, or parenthetical citation in proper BIC fashion. Borrowing from RG3, “We are BIC, BIC we are and BIC we will always be. But it’s up to us to define what that means.” I want to share a bit about what the BIC has meant to me and how a BIC education never really ends.
Does this sound familiar: “Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, what is that?” The BIC website describes it as an “alternative way for students to explore Baylor’s curriculum.” It states, “The BIC curriculum explores the interrelation of humanities, social sciences, and the physical sciences and thereby provides students with a broad context in which they can better understand the contemporary world.” That’s a tall order. To make it even worse, those students are walking, talking contradictions. They are graduating high school seniors usually described as young adults, a term that’s a contradiction itself. They are overconfident yet very insecure. They think they’re know-it-alls, but little do they actually know. They think they’re funny, but they’re really just awkward. Well, maybe that one’s just me. Put 200 of them in a room and you have the BIC. Yet, even with all the awkwardness, crazy class comments and vastly different backgrounds, here we are. Some more mature than others.
To me, the BIC means having to spend way too much time explaining to people what the BIC is. It means spending countless late nights flipping through newspapers or trying to figure out if it’s pronounced “Gorgias” or “Gorgeous.” It means complaining about World Cultures to my peers while secretly loving the coursework. It also means taking classes taught by professors that genuinely care about your intellectual well-being. It means going to a Hindu temple in Temple, visiting a mosque, belly dancing with Dr. Tatum, and being asked to reflect about life in a Japanese Zen garden. It means trying to take a liberal arts approach even to science, and having it just turn into a ton of fun. And it means growing to love every second of it.
A community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result or sharing common values, interests, and goals.” We value learning, are interested in engaging with different cultures and peoples, and share the goal of accepting different worldviews. Understood in those terms, the BIC is a community. A community of learners. Learners who go from being blindfolded together in the SLC in our respective Examined Life classes to now emerging out of the cave and ready to enter the real world. The great thing about this type of community is that it never really ends.
As we prepare for “the real world,” we must understand that the learning isn’t over. There’s just no syllabus for it. This means it’s up to us to decide how to proceed. Our good friend Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” The BIC was only the spark. Yes, believe it or not, the Nicomachean Ethics, Gorgias, Monkey, the Ramayana, Arabian Nights, The Decameron, Let Your Life Speak, Ishmael, Augustine’s Confessions, Black Picket Fences, and countless Fiero readings were only the beginning. Please, friends, let’s not confuse it with the education that still awaits us. As we graduate, there will be no more homework, no more New York Times, no more daily quizzes to guess on. But please continue connecting the dots, continue valuing conversations that go beyond the usual hello, continue asking why and be brave enough to go and find out. That is where continued education lies.
It turns out that I wasn’t completely honest earlier: this isn’t the end. It’s actually just the beginning. Now, we get to represent the BIC out there in the scary world. Whether it’s in business, law, medicine, non-profit work, religion, or politics, just keep learning. Maybe that’s our true vocation. Whatever that is. Thank you.