Jia Jiang's 2013 Commencement Address to The Hague University

One day, I received an email from a person named Tobias. He lives in the Netherlands and works for The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He asked me if I could make a short video to encourage the graduating students on overcoming rejection.

When someone asks me to do something that might take a lot of effort and without any compensation, I have a few choices to make. I could:

1. say no 2. say yes and do it as a quickly favor 3. say yes and give my best effort

I chose #3, because I believe in the cause. I love connecting with young people. They are the most overlooked crowd when it comes to rejection. Many times, the love and shelter we created for them make us feel that they don't experience rejection as much as adults do. I believe it is wrong.

In the United States, nearly 1 in 6 high school students has seriously considered suicide, and 1 in 12 has attempted it. That's an astonishingly sad number. One of the leading causes is that youth is the most vulnerable and least equipped group to handle social rejections. This is also magnified by the prevalence of bullying on social media.

Therefore, when Tobias made this request, I went through tens of hours of work to script, produce and film the video. As a former shy teenager who migrated to a new country, I understand the pain of rejection. I want to let the youth know that:

1. they are not alone; 2. rejections can make them stronger and smarter; 3. people like me turned out OK despite the rejections. :)

And in the end, I gave a commencement speech! How cool is that?