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Speaking Up

Senior prepares to give commencement address by looking back – and ahead

If you asked Majd Al Jurf, ’22, four years ago to give a speech in front of thousands at Gillette Stadium during Bridgewater State University’s morning commencement ceremony she would have declined, terrified at the thought.

“When I first came here in 2018, I was a very shy person. I wouldn’t have jumped into an opportunity like this,” she said. “But throughout my time at BSU, I’ve met a lot of people and have gotten the chance to do a lot of things...Bridgewater shaped my personality to be the outgoing person I am today.”

Majd and her family moved to the United States from Jordan shortly after she graduated from high school.

Once the family settled, an aunt who lives near campus told her niece that she should look into applying to BSU.

“I admit, I didn’t do a lot of research on the college, but my aunt said BSU looked good, so I signed up...I’m so grateful I did because I had the most wonderful experience,” Majd said.

Coming to BSU from another country was at first difficult, but she immersed herself in school, opting to study accounting. Over time she felt more comfortable and began to thrive.

“Bridgewater is a great place for diversity. The fact that you look different or speak a different language, are a different color, practice a different religion, it doesn’t matter, all are welcome,” she said, adding, “Bridgewater State is not perfect, but they are always striving to improve, and I think it’s important to highlight these aspects.”

Majd also took advantage of opportunities Bridgewater offers, like the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Summer Grants. She worked with professor Dr. Mark Crowley on her project, “Understanding Accounting as a Language in Business.”

She analyzed more than 500 financial statements to compare how 50 companies fared in 2019 versus 2020.

“It was a pandemic year and I wanted to see how companies performed. Some had a major fall, like airlines. Other companies, like Netflix or those who had an online presence, their revenues and sales went up,” she said.

Majd presented her research in-person and from that experience sharpened her public speaking skills.

“That was my first time presenting in front of people. I was scared but it gave me the courage to apply for student speaker (consideration),” she said.

Majd isn’t done with BSU just yet, she plans to return next year to pursue a master’s degree in accounting.

“Being at BSU is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, it’s prepared me to do bigger things, like apply for a master’s,” she said.

Majd hopes her story impacts others when she shares it on the stage at Gillette, particularly for those who may see something of themselves in her.

“Being an immigrant, it’s part of my identity. I want other people in the same position as I am to be, hopefully, inspired,” she said.

Overall, she is joyful to celebrate with the BSU class of 2022.

“We’re very hard-working students and Bridgewater has prepared us for whatever is coming next,” she said. “Bridgewater State is a great university and I’m proud to be a BSU Bear.

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