Dame Quentin Bryce: How to be bold, find success, and make a difference

Blogger: Dame Quentin Bryce
Dame Quentin Bryce was the keynote speaker at USQ’s Graduation Ceremony in September 2017. This is an extract from her speech, highlighting her advice for the graduating class.

Graduating from university ushers in changes that sometimes can be unsettling, even a bit scary. But I have learnt that times of change can be exhilarating too.

When I look back on past disappointments and things I missed out on, in hindsight, I see they meant that another door opened.

Things do work out.

I can’t forecast your careers, but, I can share with you a few insights and ideas from lessons I have learnt from my own journey.

These are my six tips for being bold, finding success, and making a difference:

1. Develop and strengthen your inner resources

In particular, develop the resilience you will need in the tough times and the perseverance that it will take to pursue your dreams.

2. Travel

Being far from home in places new to me has brought wider perspectives, allowed me to see the big picture more clearly and allowed me to develop a keener awareness of our troubled world.

3. Make time for quietness and reflection and for the lovely things in life

Take the time to appreciate things like music, art, poetry, romance and theatre.

4. Don’t lose the art of conversation

I am in awe of the way young people today are so connected, so global and so fast, but sometimes that intense connectedness worries me. Connect with people face to face, with warmth, openness and humour. That’s how friendships that endure and reassure begin, and friendships are essential to a good life.

5. Take charge of your agenda

But also be open to opportunities for compassion, kindness and service, and grasp them in both hands.

6. Never forget that the most effective tool we have is our voice

Use yours to speak about issues dear to your heart and your head, the values that have brought you here. Don’t turn away from the confronting and the horrible, like violence against women. Be mindful of the unfinished business of constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians. Our nation is at a defining time in their long struggle for equality and justice.

Through your education, you will have developed the capacity for problem solving, innovation, creativity, exploration and curiosity. It is your concern, your awareness and your ambition to make a difference that are what this country needs, and are what give me and my generation optimism, hope and determination.

I’m counting on you to be bold.

Take Dame Quentin Bryce's advice and be inspired by the stories of USQ students and alumni, like Mitch and Bec, who have overcome obstacles to follow their dreams.


Mitch: Don’t let your fear of being first hold you back

Kim: A graduate’s letter to first year students

John: A graduate’s journey to greatness