Graduating college is an immense accomplishment, and it’s a feat that deserves a proper celebration. I know many of our recent 2020 grads are settling into life post-graduation (and I’m sure a global pandemic throws a bit of a wrench in that plan). Recently, my friends and I gave mini-commencement speeches to our fellow friends that graduated this semester.
I too was tasked with giving a speech, so I rifled through the best commencement speeches in history to manifest some inspiration for my own. In the end, I ended up sharing some of the top quotes from other famous commencement speeches, and I thought I’d share these with you all too to offer some inspiration to fellow recent graduates. Especially with the current climate, we could all use a bit of motivation. Enjoy!
1.“If everybody followed their first dreams in life, the world would be ruled by cowboys and princesses.”- Stephen Colbert. I like this one because it reminds me that it’s alright if dreams change and that with maturity stems new hopes and dreams yet to come.
2.“So how do you know what is the right path to choose to get the result that you desire? And the honest answer is this: You won't.” - John Stewart, although it’s meant as advice for recent graduates, I’m learning this one is applicable at every stage in life. Sometimes, you just have to pick a path and start walking, realizing every path you take was put forth for a reason.
3.“When you’re the absolute best, you get hated on the most.” - Kayne West. I’m not typically a Kayne fan, but I threw this one in here because while humility is important, don’t forget a dash of confidence.
4.“It was so important for me to lose everything because I found what the most important thing is. The most important thing is to be true to yourself.” - Ellen DeGeneres. Strong words of advice in the face of adversity.
5."This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There's only change, and resistance to it and then more change."- Meryl Streep. For the students graduating in a pandemic, this one was for you. Roll with the punches!
6.“ Don't let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives." - Bill Gates. I adore this quote because we can ALL work harder to do more, be better, give back. Speak up when you see something wrong, fight for what’s right, and if you’re blessed with privilege, you better damn well be an ally to those who weren’t given the same luxuries.
7. “Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer." — Shonda Rhimes. I picked this one, not just because I adore Shonda’s greatest work that is “Grey’s Anatomy,” but because I truly resonate with this one in my personal life, and I believe it’s one we could all take to heart. Dreams are great, but actions ring a thousand times louder than hopeful words.
8."You are graduating from college. That means that this is the first day of the last day of your life. No, that's wrong. This is the last day of the first day of school. Nope, that's worse. This is a day." —Andy Samberg. And lastly, I added this one in here, because you should never forget to laugh a little.
Well, to our readers who just graduated recently, we’re here to support you and wish you the best your next life chapter. I’ll leave you with one more quote to think on, and this one’s from yours truly.
“Don’t ever settle for Mediocracy. Your greatest potential is yet reached, but don’t forget to be kind along your way up.”