The valedictorian of Thompson Rivers University’s faculty of law – a South Surrey resident – has taken his graduation message online after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all in-person graduation ceremonies for students across the country.
Arjun Singh Hair, who has graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree, was among a handful of TRU valedictorians to deliver a speech online – they were posted to the Kamloops school’s website Monday as part of a Virtual Spring Convocation event.
Prior to his pre-recorded message, Dennis Acreman – TRU’s interim dean of the faculty of law – introduced Hair, calling his road to law school “unconventional.” Prior to moving to Kamloops, Hair received a degree in film studies from UBC, and also worked as a freelance photographer, Acreman noted.
In his speech, Hair poked fun at his transition from film studies to law, saying that upon arriving at TRU, he worried that he was “woefully unprepared” for the challenge of law.
“I’d just spent four years of my life being graded on how good I was at watching movies,” he joked.
“It didn’t take long to realize that everyone else was just as unprepared, and there was no degree that would have helped.”
Hair was also quick to point out the absurdity that comes with graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting to his fellow graduates that “I would say you look wonderful, but I know most of you are watching this in your pyjamas right now.”
“No judgment,” he continued. “This is recorded in advance, so I’m probably watching this in my pyjamas, too.”
He also joked that, without a traditional ceremony, “we have been robbed of one of the greatest selfie opportunities of our lives.”
“But no matter what happens, nobody can take away the years of hard work that brought us here,” he continued.
While at TRU, Hair served in a variety of roles, as a representative and then president of the Society of Law Students; as an active member of the South Asian Law Students Association; Black Law Students Associations, Women and Law Society and the Oral Advocacy Club. As well, he was a member of TRU Law’s basketball club, and founder of the Sports and Entertainment Law Club.
“Arjun did his best to get the most out of law school by involving himself in the school and the community as much as possible,” Acreman said.
In closing remarks, Hair said his fellow graduates “have all been kind, supportive and insightful.”
“Any individual can study and pass the classes… but as a group, we managed to challenge each other and help each other grow into the best future lawyers in Canada. I can’t wait to see how accomplished and influential you all become.”