I find reading commencement speeches this spring, has impacted me more than ever in the past. When you are at your college graduation, you dont really know what you’re getting into. Maybe you have a job lined up, or you haven’t broken up with your college sweetheart yet, or you’re excited to travel around Europe with your best friends. Either way, you really have no clue.
But somewhere down the line, maybe a few months, a few weeks or a few years, you will be panic stricken, depressed and lonely. And you’ll be wondering, “Why the hell didn’t my college commencement speaker prepare me for this??!”
Well truth is, they probably did. (Or didn’t in my case because John Boehner gave one of the worst commencement speeches at my Ohio State 2011 Spring Graduation. So bad, I can hardly believe Speaker is his official title. But anyway, I’ll try not to go into politics this once.)
They probably said something incredibly inspiring and meaningful, but you were too busy taking selfies in your cap and gown, or trying to find your parents in the stands. (I can spot Jane’s tie dye dress!!) This is why I think every student should be handed a print out of their commencement address and told not to read it until they really need it.
Because one day, when you are in the pits of life, you’ll need it. The inspiration, humor, insight and most of all, the reminder that you really do know a lot more today than you knew when you first heard (or half paid attention to) your last college lecture.
Thats why, it is important each spring, to read or listen to some of the commencement speeches made across the country. Because we are still in need of the lessons these speeches teach and maybe, we have finally started paying attention.
Here are some of my favorites from this spring:
John Green, Author, Butler University:
Jon Lovett, Former Obama speechwriter, Current writer & creator of 1600 Penn at Pitzer College:
President Barack Obama, at the Ohio State University:
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, at (gasp!) University of Michigan:
Huffington Post’s 16 Best Pieces of Career Advice from 2013 Commencement Speeches:
and The Atlantic’s list of some of 2013’s best: