All Blog Posts

Simran Goel, MASD ’24 Hooding Ceremony Speech

Last updated June 25, 2024

By Sarabeth Trimble

On May 3, 2024, the Office of Graduate Studies held a Hooding Ceremony to honor our 2024 graduates and their amazing accomplishments. Simran Goel was chosen by members of her Master of Arts in Strategic Design cohort to speak on their behalf. To follow is her speech.

I apologize in advance if my accent is still too Indian for Y’ALL. I promise I will try my best. I still remember the day when my mother and I sat huddled over my laptop, exploring Furman’s website. I sighed as I realized the deadline had passed, doubting if I’d ever make it. But my mother, refusing to accept defeat, urged me to check again and give it a try. Little did I know that two years from that day, I would stand here, speaking at my own graduation, with my parents by my side, having traveled all the way from India to witness this moment. Simran Goel, MASD '24, reads a speech during the Hooding Ceremony on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Coming from a small city in India, I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to travel to another country, let alone pursue my education there. In a society where sending girls to bigger cities was frowned upon, my parents stood firm in their belief in me and stood against the society to ensure that I had access to quality education. Their courage and love have paved the way for me to pursue my dreams, and I will always carry their legacy with pride and gratitude. So, thank you Mom and Dad, for believing in me and giving me this opportunity, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for both of you.

WE MADE IT! Can you believe we made it? It feels like just yesterday when I was stepping into this new country, excited and nervous all at once. But here we are, graduating with a master’s in strategic design! These past two years have been a wild ride. Sure, we were the guinea pigs of this program, tested and tried for everything. But you know what? It was all worth it. We were the first cohort of MASD to spend the whole two years at Furman. From the very beginning, we embraced the challenge with determination and enthusiasm, knowing that we were setting a precedent for future cohorts. It was like exploring a new place where no one had been before. It was new for us and the professors, but I believe we did well. We all had to learn together and figure things out as we went along. Despite the challenges, we worked hard and succeeded.

We learned not just technical knowledge but also about ourselves, about each other, and about life. What’s amazing is how every person in this program came from a different background, from Seattle to India, from sustainability to football and from psychology to basketball, yet design is something that glued us all together as we all brought something unique to the table.

Remember our first hangout as a group at Jeni’s? From there, it was a whirlwind of experiences from Halloween parties to intense critiques, from working out together to curry nights. Time just flew by, and now, as we stand here, it feels like those moments were just yesterday, filled with laughter, friendship, and unforgettable adventures.

But what truly made these memories special were the friends we made along the way. From celebrating each other’s victories to supporting one another through challenges, we became more than classmates – we became a FAMILY. I gotta give a shoutout to my amazing bunch of people sitting here, You guys are the best and I WOULDN’T HAVE SURVIVED IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU AND I MEAN EVERY WORD OF IT.

I still remember the orientation day. I had landed in America just the night before, barely managing to catch a few hours of sleep. Exhausted and disoriented, I found myself surrounded by unfamiliar faces, all speaking in an accent I could barely understand. It was tough, really tough, I won’t lie. As we gathered for lunch, Matt Bowersox, with enthusiasm, turned to me and asked, “Simran, you’re from India, do you know chicken tikka masala? It’s my favorite dish!” he said. I couldn’t help but give him a puzzled look and replied, “What the hell is that?” His surprised and somewhat judgmental expression made me realize I might have committed a culinary crime because I’d never heard of a dish named chicken tikka masala in India before. But then, I sighed and told myself, “Well, here’s to new beginnings and new learnings, Simran.”

Simran Goel, 'MASD 24, receives her diploma

Speaking of learnings, let’s not forget our beloved professors. They were more than just teachers; they were mentors, they were friends. It’s not every day you can shoot the breeze with your professors like we did here. They challenged us, pushed us to think outside the box, and believed in our potential even when we didn’t. What I admired the most was that we could talk about anything and everything with them, which is definitely not the case back in India. They were there for us not only in the classroom but also outside of it. Whether it was grabbing a coffee together, attending events or selecting outfits, they made sure we felt supported and valued. Their dedication to our success went beyond teaching, as they invested in our personal growth and development.

And last but not the least, Marta Lanier, the director of our program, who has been a driving force behind its transformation and remarkable improvement. When she took over the program, she brought with her a vision for excellence and a commitment to innovation. Under her leadership, the program has undergone significant enhancements, offering us a more enriching and fulfilling educational experience. Her dedication to improving every aspect of the program, from curriculum development to student support, has been truly remarkable. Her tireless efforts to engage with students, listen to our feedback, and implement positive changes have made a world of difference. Marta, thank you for your transformative leadership and for making our time in the program an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

I would also like to give a special mention to Sara Beth Trimble, who joined Furman a month before me. Professionally, she’s my manager, but without her, I wouldn’t have survived work. She’s been my mentor, my friend, my sister who ultimately acts like my mother. I wouldn’t have made it without you, SB.

So here’s to our mentors who inspired us, encouraged us, and pushed us to be our best selves. Without their guidance, patience, and wisdom, we wouldn’t be standing here today, ready to take on the world. As we step out into the world, remember the bonds we’ve formed, the lessons we’ve learned, and the support we’ve given each other. Our journey here has prepared us for whatever comes next.

Here’s to the future, to successful careers, and to never forgetting the incredible journey we’ve been on. Remember, as we embark on new adventures, to carry with us the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the wisdom imparted by our professors. As we leave this chapter behind, let’s not forget to stay connected, to continue supporting each other, and to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve. Together, we have the power to shape the world around us and make a difference in the lives of others.

Sure, these two years flew by like a rocket at NASA, but the memories we’ve created and the bonds we’ve formed will last a lifetime. As Eleanor Roosevelt rightly said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Let this be our guiding light as we venture forth into the unknown, armed with the knowledge, experiences, and friendships we’ve gained during our time at Furman. Each of us holds within us the power to shape our destinies and create the lives we dream of. So let’s dare to dream big, work hard, and never lose sight of the incredible potential that lies within us. Congratulations, Class of 2024, our journey is just beginning and I will see you in New Delhi at my wedding now!!!!

Thank you, this is Simran signing off, NAMASTE!

M.A. in Strategic Design 2024 Graduates

Graduate Studies Hooding Ceremony at Younts Conference Center on the evening of Friday, May 3, 2024.