Riva Trivedi will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance. 

By Special to UM News

Riva Trivedi will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance. 

Riva Trivedi
By Special to UM News
Trivedi shares a note to her fellow graduates.

“The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air-until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My God, this is terrible,” the wave says, “Look what’s going to happen to me!”

Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, “Why do you look so sad?”

The first wave says, “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”

The second wave says, “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.”

Part of the ocean. It’s such a fundamental idea, yet too significant to easily grasp at first. 

This passage is from one of my favorite books, Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, in which the author tells the stories of the invaluable advice and guidance imparted to him by his terminal former college professor.

When I read the word “Congratulations!” four years ago, and took my acceptance to come to the U, I had no idea what I was in for. When we went around the classroom to introduce ourselves, people were not just from Tampa and New York and Chicago, they were from Turkey and Cyprus and Austria. Our student body not only represents all 50 states and three U.S. territories, but also over 120 other countries. Meeting so many different people and hearing everyone’s unique stories, I found that maybe I was part of something greater than just my life. Maybe, I was, part of an ocean.

When I first read the passage from Tuesdays with Morrie, I thought of course Albom was referring to the end of our lives, and how we live our lives as “waves” before we crash, right? What I came to understand after joining the ‘Cane family, though, is that his wave metaphor can be applied to any struggle, endeavor, or challenge. A wave can only get so big; it can only make a limited impact. However, an ocean can be immensely powerful. The combined force of every wave working together yields unimaginable repercussions, just as groups, crowds, and nations of individuals collaborating and joining efforts generate far greater impacts. That is why it is important to remember that, sure, each and every one of us has the ability to make an impact, but these impacts can be further enhanced by working with others in a sea of interdependence.

This requires relying on each other, trusting each other, loving each other. I would not have experienced living and learning with such a distinctive group of people had I not come to this university, and I’m so grateful I did. Without conflict and diversity of ideas, we remain stubborn in our thoughts. With only our own perspectives and beliefs in our heads, it is easy to fall into the ever-so-inviting trap of ignorance.

Each new piece of knowledge gained increases our wisdom, even if we do not believe everything we hear. What is important is that we at least pause to consider every perspective, every aspect, and every possibility before making our own conclusions; otherwise, our ideas remain half-hearted and not fully representative of their respective concepts. We cannot reach our full potential of intelligence if we are stubborn in accepting new ideas, or at least reflecting on their validity and implications.

At the University of Miami, students come from not just all over the world, but also from a myriad of cultures, family values, socioeconomic status, religions, sexualities, and belief systems. The plethora of perceptions I was opened up to made me reevaluate some of my own beliefs about education, intelligence, talent, and relationships. It was refreshing to realize there were sides to certain topics that I had not thought about before, and it helped shape my ideas to be more mature and encompassing of the knowledge I gained.

I urge everyone to share the same open-mindedness toward, and appreciation of, what UMiami has offered us, and take that mindset into the world. By the countless examples of research, humanitarianism, and innovation, UMiami alumni have illustrated their success through giving back to the world. However, I doubt any one of them will say they that all of their accomplishments came solely from their own merit. It comes from feeding off of each other, collaborating, and pushing each other to do better and work harder.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. Gosh, group projects suck, and I hate working with other people because I just end up doing all the work! And then there are those of you sitting there thinking, yep, I never did any of the work! But in all seriousness, I think we all understand that without each other, we never could have gotten this far.

So, class of 2017, let’s go out there and take what we’ve gained at this institution to further our connections to each other, make an impact on this world, and advance the human condition. And, not as waves, but as an ocean, we will crash, we will thrive, and in the end we will be gone, leaving behind changed landscapes as a result of our collaborative efforts.

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Trivedi has accepted an offer to be a Global Investment Banking Analyst in the healthcare group at RBC Capital Markets in New York City this coming fall.