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Let your fear of unfulfilled potential be greater

At the age of 11, Jaya Minhas’ teachers told her she had no potential. They said she would never graduate from high school, let alone college. Yet on May 21, the Jacob Albright Scholar with a 4.0 grade point average stood before 475 traditional, accelerated and master’s degree graduates and spoke from her heart with passion, triumph and humor about her four years at Albright.

She spoke about being encouraged to think critically, challenge opinions, take risks, move beyond comfort zones, and experience the world. She talked about being confronted with difference and learning to celebrate and respect it. And she reflected on being pushed to unleash her potential over the last four years as a student—potential that she didn’t even realize she had.

As I soaked in her words, I could not help but feel inspired, proud and in awe of the talent, intellect and poise that this young woman displayed. I could not help but feel that what we do here at Albright means something and that being part of this community is truly special. Here was this 20-something who entered college unsure of her potential, now about to leave having literally taken on the world—a French and Spanish major, Minhas studied in Grenoble, France, and often travels to India to volunteer at an orphanage there.

Toward the end of her address, Minhas left the audience with a piece of advice: “If you are fearful of something, let your fear of unfulfilled potential be greater. That’s what will keep you going when you encounter life’s obstacles.”

Thank you, Jaya Minhas, for leaving this 40-something, non-Albright grad, but proud Albrightian, with a lot of food for thought.

Be inspired! Check out Jaya Minhas’ Commencement address, along with other photos and video highlights at

– Jennifer Post Stoudt

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