by RONALYN BANAKEN
‘I took that gamble and it paid off – big time’
In her baccalaureate speech, Miss World 2013 Megan Young talks about the
real essence of success, giving back, and embracing yourself
Megan Young (left photo) delivers her speech before the graduates and their parents at the UB Gym (right photo).
Addressing over 800 graduating students of the University of Baguio (UB), Miss World 2013 Megan Young graced the University’s baccalaureate rites on May 30.
In her talk, Young shared her version of the three things universally characteristic of human existence – vulnerabilities, victories and aspirations.
Young – who was born to an American father and a Filipino mother in Virginia, U.S.A. – first touched on the inevitable sting of uncertainty, that which traps almost every new graduate. “When you’re young, you don’t really know what you want in life,” she said, sharing she actually wanted to be “a lot of things.”
“I was part of my high school newspaper and I love magazines so I dreamed of becoming an editor-in-chief. I also wanted to be doctor but, sadly, I’m just too afraid of blood. And not a lot of people know but I am a computer geek so I thought of becoming a computer programmer or maybe a professional DOTA player,” she raved. She didn’t become any of those, but she has learned to come to terms with it – and hope. Echoing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most-quoted line, she urged the graduates to “have the strength to start over.”
Young – who debuted on television at 14 – moved to the country when she was 10. As a teenager, she joined the local talent competition StarStruck, finishing as the winner. She went on to appear in various local television shows and movies.
However, she admitted being an actress wasn’t exactly her dream. “It was a let’s-try-it-out-maybe-it’s-gonna-be-fun [kind of thing].” “[And then] there came a point in my life when I was focused on being famous… I ended up tripping over and hitting it hard… I completely lost myself.”
What happened triggered the uncovering of a lesson – one that she learned the hard way. “I needed to stop going with what people expected and I needed to start doing what I wanted to do and say what I wanted to say.”
She would later come to a “halt” in her career as an actress, and would choose between sticking to the secure path of acting that she already paved and risking trying out something she had no guarantee of ever winning.
“It [was] either I take the risk and I drop all the work to join [Ms. World] which meant that I could lose big time or I could just settle and accept the supporting roles that were given to me – at least I knew what was offered and I would have that talent fee; I was sure of that,” she said, remembering how scared she felt at the time.
“But I took that gamble and it paid off – big time,” she said. But what is of greater importance, she added, is “making the most of what you have chosen – whether taking a risk or going with the norm.”
She went on to pound on the idea of success – “real success” – giving her spin on its essence. She hammered on the understanding that success “should be deeply rooted in your being and your self-growth, and you will be able to see this if you actually… allow yourself to learn that, in life, there are more important things like family and friends and, of course, giving back.”
“What you give to the world will come back tenfold – to show passion, determination – and love will always find its way back to you. You will reap the fruits of your labor and you will enjoy the happiness and contentment that every human soul ultimately desires. For me, that is success.”
Amid the stark contrast from traditional commencement speakers, Young – who in September 2012 has been chosen by President Benigno Aquino III as a National Peace Ambassador for “I Am for Peace,” a campaign which aims to rally more support for the negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front – has shown that wisdom transcends profession. It’s because we all share the same vulnerabilities, victories and aspirations – and these are what bear wisdom, that which is at the center of all that inspires.