Be aware of the pressures, new graduates told

University of Otago graduands pose for a photograph at the end of the latest University of Otago graduation parade in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
University of Otago graduands pose for a photograph at the end of the latest University of Otago graduation parade in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
University of Otago graduate and former Dunedin musician David Pine talked about the impact of pressure on individuals during his speech to 445 law and commerce graduates at a ceremony in Dunedin on Saturday.

Despite the ''great education'' in philosophy and law he had received at Otago, the importance of the impact of pressure on individuals was something he had ''completely failed to appreciate'' at the time he finished university, the former diplomat and Christchurch-based entrepreneurial adviser told graduates.

''Pressure goes on us all. Even stronger pressures go on the institutions, whether private or public, that we work in.

''And greatest of all are the pressures that go on the institutions with which we govern ourselves,'' Mr Pine said.

''In a competitive environment, pressures push all of us to narrow our focus. We become less kind than we should be, less generous and less thoughtful about the longer-term impacts of what we are doing.''

Everyone - scientists and teachers, lawyers and entrepreneurs - would have to think more broadly than they had done in the past about the consequences of what they were doing, Mr Pine said.

''You will have to take an active part in shaping ... rules and policies. There may even be the odd occasion on which you need to oppose them.''

At the earlier ceremony, 216 graduates in arts, education, music, teaching and theology heard a personal message from Dunedin-born Paula Boock.

The Otago graduate, former Burns Fellow and now Auckland-based writer, screenwriter and film producer told graduates about her life, its challenges, her dreams and her work.

She had spent the past month producing a low-budget film in Central Otago, working with a diverse group of people.

''We were all there because it was a film about something; about culture, about immigration, about the world we now live in.

''Anything we can do to encourage people to imagine that world from another perspective is a worthwhile thing to do.''

She asked graduates to ask themselves what sort of person they wanted to be and what sort of life they imagined for themselves.

''Go big,'' Ms Boock said, urging them to ''dig deeper'' than ''a kind of touchstone dream. You have to imagine the very best adult person you can be.''

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