‘Tis the season to be inspired (or bored to death) at convocations! Graduation speeches are notoriously soporific, but I’m thankful for the following orators for making their speeches entertaining, humorous, and inspiring. I’ve been to my fair share of graduations, both for myself and friends/family, but not many have been super memorable and rather, have induced a succession of yawns. So whether you’re graduating this year or you’re simply looking for words of wisdom beyond the usual platitudes, I hope these seven graduation speeches bring a smile to your face and a spring in your step, as they do for me.
1) Steve Jobs at Stanford University, 2005
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
2) Mindy Kaling at Harvard Law School, 2014
“Try to be the kind of people who give advice to celebrities, not the other way around.”
3) Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane University, 2009
“Success is to live your life with integrity and to not give in to peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not. Success is to be honest and to contribute in some way. Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path…”
4) J.K. Rowling at Harvard University, 2008
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
5) Sheryl Sandberg at Harvard Business School, 2012
“Build your skills, not your resume.”
6) Jeff Bezos at Princeton University, 2010
“Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”
7) Stephen Colbert at the University of Virginia, 2013
“I believe we have given you a gift, a particular form of independence because you do not owe the previous generation anything.”
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I’m Nyssa. I started The Cultureur in August 2012, almost a decade after contracting the travel bug while on a Model United Nations conference in Russia and Finland.
And from there, when I took the first step in solo international travel and decided to study abroad in college,
there was no looking back, and I ended up living, studying, working, and volunteering in 6 countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Iceland, India, and Germany) and traveling to 50+ others.