‘I have an education, and I will not waste it.’ Undergraduate student speaker tells classmates to turn knowledge into action by Alena Kuzub May 7, 2023 Share Mastodon Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Northeastern’s 2023 undergraduate commencement student speaker Clara Wu speaks during Northeastern’s commencement ceremony at Fenway Park. Photo by Billie Weiss/Northeastern University This is part of our coverage of Northeastern’s 2023 commencement exercises. For more information, including a livestream, photos and live coverage throughout the day, visit our dedicated commencement page. Northeastern University undergraduate student speaker Clara Wu urged fellow graduates to be proud of what they have achieved, cherish their families, and go out and turn their knowledge into action. Northeastern’s 2023 undergraduate commencement student speaker Clara Wu gives her speech during Northeastern’s commencement ceremony at Fenway Park. Photo by Billie Weiss/Northeastern University Clara Wu, a behavioral neuroscience major, was chosen to address her classmates at the 2023 commencement exercises that took place at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday afternoon. Introducing Wu, Kenneth Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning, said that she made the most out of her Northeastern experience, completing four co-ops, as well as volunteering in a neonatal intensive care unit cuddling babies. “Clara has the magic combination of a mind for science and a heart for people,” said Henderson to the large audience of the 2023 graduates, their families and friends who filled the baseball stadium. “Among other privileges, I have an education, and I will not waste it,” Wu said during her speech. Wu grew up in the Bay Area in California. She said she was excited and nervous to attend college because of the societal pressure to have “the best years” of her life there. But she realized last month that, indeed, these have been the best times of her life. She reminded her classmates of the trials they’d all just gone through and what they’d gained at Northeastern. The COVID-19 pandemic—a defining period of the century—Wu said, forced them to figure out online studies and co-ops, work from different time zones and volunteer on the front lines to work in intensive care units, psychiatric hospitals and ambulances. But they also met great friends, got to study the topics they love and had opportunities to do meaningful work during co-ops. Wu completed four co-ops, including one in Germany, during her time at Northeastern as an undergraduate student and co-founded a fencing team. She is in the process of applying to medical schools for fall 2024. “We have grown so much, even in the face of one shared obstacle in particular,” she said. In regard to sharing wisdom and inspiring graduates, Wu turned to the advice she had received from her grandparents. One of her grandfathers taught her to treasure family, support loved ones and lean on them in times of need. “Sometimes we may need to compromise between family and career, but don’t be afraid to put family first,” Wu said. Her other grandfather advised her to stay true to her values and rank priorities accordingly. “So, when you make a decision, do something that you can still be proud of tomorrow,” she said. Concluding her speech, Wu quoted philosopher Herbert Spencer who said that the aim of education is not knowledge but rather action. Northeastern has prepared the Class of 2023 for demanding careers and the unpredictable, Wu said, so they can continue to do important work. Alena Kuzub is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlenaKuzub.