Read books, great books - books that have expanded minds for generations and changed the outlook for those who have read them, urged Dr Stephen Kinsella to a room full of teenagers.
The University of Limerick’s senior lecturer in economics was the keynote speaker at the Kemmy Business School’s annual awards ceremony for students who received an A in Junior Cert higher level business studies in 2014
Over 270 pupils, from the Mid-West, were presented with certificates of achievement from the Kemmy Business School (KBS), UL. The event, held in association with the Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI), celebrates and recognises excellence in Junior Cert business studies.
This is the third year that the KBS has held these awards. The recipients were accompanied by proud parents, business studies teachers and principals in the UCH.
Dr Philip O’Regan, dean, KBS, said: “I congratulate all on their wonderful achievement and would also like to pay tribute to the commitment and dedication of their teachers in helping the students achieve such excellence.”
The KBS is one of Ireland’s leading business schools – recently awarded Best Business School at the InBusiness Editor’s Choice Awards – with a reputation for quality and employability of graduates. The event reinforces the important relationship between the KBS and the region’s second-level students, their schools and business studies teachers.
Mary O’Sullivan, former President of the BSTAI, said: “I’m confident that many of today’s award recipients will build successful careers in the business world.”
Dr Kinsella’s speech centred on “tools for thinking about your future”.
“What choices will you make to live the best life you can? The next few years for you will revolve around answering this question. Beware: People might dress it up in fancy phrases like ‘maximising your potential’ or something like that. Ignore them. You’re smart enough to know you’re probably being sold something.
“There’s no doubt you have to make a series of choices, and these choices will help determine the course of your life. So those choices are important,” said Dr Kinsella.
There’s just one problem, said the senior lecturer.
“You’ve never really had to make serious choices before. In fact, you live and work within institutions that deprive you of choice on a daily basis. Your day is programmed for you, as are many of your nights. Your food is handed to you. Much of the time, you have to ask to leave the room, to use the bathroom, even to speak to answer questions.
So how, exactly, are you supposed to make choices to live the best life when you need a superior’s permission just to urinate?
“The answer is: read books. Great books. Books that have expanded minds for generations and changed the outlook for those who have read them. Read the books on iPads or kindles or laptops or even on paper. The ideas matter more than the medium, and they are some of the best ideas humans have ever produced.
“It’s important to read something that hasn’t been prescribed for you by someone else. It has to come from you... I guarantee the great books will help you choose better, by offering you a glimpse of a life outside your current conception. The great books are yours, and they are waiting for you. Go read them and make better choices. Your futures are so bright, I envy you,” said Dr Kinsella.