Don’t fear failure – it is the most important learning experience we can have, Professor Mark Orams told graduates, families and friends attending EIT Hawke’s Bay’s graduation ceremony in Hastings.
Guest speaker at both morning and afternoon capping sessions, Professor Orams said New Zealand, as a society, was becoming quite risk adverse. However, part of our journey through life meant being prepared to take risks and learning from the experience of pushing our personal limits.
“You’ll never know what you are capable of unless you give it a go. Trying is admirable and is in itself an achievement.”
It was also important to support and encourage others, said Professor Orams, recalling an incident in which he comforted a PhD candidate devastated to have failed in the oral presentation of her thesis.
He urged the student not to view the panel interview as a complete disaster but to persevere with her work. Recently she emailed to tell him she was ecstatic to have passed, and that her examiners had applauded the changes made to her thesis.
“She is the student I am proudest of,” he said. “We really admire those who persist, who struggle, who make mistakes and get back up again to accomplish. That’s special and worth celebrating.”
Professor Orams joined AUT as Associate Director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute and is a member of staff in the School of Hospitality and Tourism.
A professional yachtsman, he has worked with the Sir Peter Blake Trust, and is a respected researcher in marine science, coastal and marine tourism, sport management and sustainable development.