This is the first year since 1997 that I have not played “Pomp and Circumstance.”
I’m not sorry that I’m not playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” for a lot of reasons (not the least of which is that its lyrics are alarmingly imperialist). I am sorry that my not playing “Pomp and Circumstance” means that no one needed a clarinet ringer for graduation.
Because no one is holding a graduation. At least not the kind that has a live band.
To lift our spirits or whatever, I plugged the top 15 Google search results for “commencement address” into Botnik. The included commencement speakers are an illustrious bunch: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Brené Brown, Jim Carrey, LeBron James, Steve Jobs, Mindy Kaling, John F. Kennedy, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Gayatri Patnaik, Natalie Portman, Ben Sasse, David Foster Wallace, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg.
So whether your school is known to everyone or no one, here’s the median commencement address from among the top 15 most-Googled commencement addresses in the US.
Minus teachers, can you use your mind?
That’s something worth living in. All of your hard work and health care is about to create a world where everybody has meaning.
Which of you remember exactly what you wanted from Harvard? Community? Peace? 25 years of severe telenovela addiction?
All those things are graduating today.
When I was a baby, the world was a shock to me. It always has been. I had take more classes than I should have. I had to think deeply about Houston. I had to admit I am earning $40,000 out of your own skin.
Here, today, even 12 year olds experience profound loss. Do not deny that. It’s what you don’t want that you’re going to remember most.
Successful female minorities show us not how to cope with people, but how to build communities in spite of people. With self-care receipts, we can pretty much do anything.
Stand up for once in your life. Journey down the path of purpose. Somewhere between nations and neighbors are graduating students who are going to change something. That’s why I’m so grateful to be here today.
The world will always require increased understanding between different types of wars. It will always have insane confidence. It will never have adequate justice.
Tips for your work:
First, film that. You know the one. Major, major bummer.
Second, energy is not exactly free, but it’s not impossible either. Ask for bartending tips.
Third, know that you are graduating into a world where you’re automatically absorbed by the Amish. Do not deny it. Your dream is really not even a thing.
Finally, obligations to family members and friends who love you will control your entire future, but you will hate how you become without them.
Before you die, you are going to get kicked out of college. Tuition receipts won’t help solve anything. But you can, because we’re technically children, and that’s great.
Society just sucks. Secondary schools are supposed to make meaning from experience but often don’t.
Don’t waste time screaming into Harvard – drop out. Your degree represents actual work. When you begin anew, you can harness that inexperience to make hundreds of people follow your social media.
Imagine these memories. Look at your hands. Get back up. Acknowledge your blood.
Thank you for joining us tonight, and congratulations to all you diplomas.
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