cemil can ali marandi mezuniyet

Yesterday was a hectic day, we had a lot of fuss and there was a very important ceremony waiting for me in the middle of the day. I am used to ceremonies and podiums as they have been present throughout my life, but this was different. Excitement was at its peak and it was finally my turn. The stadium echoed. Yes, I am talking about my SLU graduation ceremony. Yesterday, I joined the engineers club just like my parents, with a double major in computer engineering and computer science.

There was a footnote my primary and middle school teachers would always add to my report cards that I remembered recently. They would consistently write, “he is a very disciplined student with extreme eagerness to learn.” I have finally realized what they meant years later. I would like to send special thanks to all my teachers at PEISG for their fine observation. They were experts on human kind, they knew who would become what many years before it happened. After high school, I was going to study computer engineering only but, after being successful for two years and becoming more eager to learn, I decided to apply for the double major in computer science and I got admitted. My capacities to think and learn have increased over the past years thanks to all the chess work I have put in every single day for hours. The course work felt easy, my grades were good, and double majoring was inevitable. I have been an honor student five times during my undergrad. Thanks to my grades and achievements, I was directly accepted to the master’s degree.

What made yesterday possible was years of hard work and decisions taken by me and my family. We made a critical decision as a family while I was in high school, whether to continue only with chess or continue with chess and education. We thought it would be the latter, but had to decide what our strategy should be. According to the research I have done, the number of educated chess professionals should not be underestimated. The key to this achievement was to have logic and passion aligned. Sometimes, one has to keep their passion and excitement within and move forward with logic, which is what I did. I decided to pursue my academic career while continuing my professional chess career. In order to not regret my decisions in the future, I continued to wake up every morning with passion to complete my education 9550 kilometers away from my home. I can now easily say that I am glad I completed my undergraduate education and, thanks to this, I can be involved in valuable projects and serve my country as well as humanity.

During my education, I never took a break from chess; I continued working on chess on a daily basis and closely followed chess tournaments happening all around the world. I consistently worked on my openings and made sure I was always up to date with the chess world. I play online chess on a regular basis; for example, in March, I was an actively involved member of the SLU Team which won the FIDE World University Championship. In April, I scored 4/4 in the Final Four tournament and helped the SLU Team to come in second. As the pandemic is slowly coming to an end and normalcy is returning, I am intending to play several over the board tournaments soon. During my college years with plenty of schoolwork and exams, chess players usually either lose rating or keep their ratings stationary; however, with correct time management I was able to increase my rating by about 100 points. Chess is my passion and I will never give up on it.

While being a very important part of my education career, yesterday’s graduation ceremony was an important start to my life. It was like a comma, definitely not a period. Firstly, I would like to thank my family and my professors at SLU for their support and efforts. Today, I will be taking a little break with my family and starting from tomorrow onwards, a very intense adventure is waiting for me, both in terms of chess and academics.

Do not stop, keep going…

23 May 2021, Sunday

Saint Louis – Missouri

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