Our seniors graduated today. The faculty was herded up and loaded on a bus and driven to an auditorium roughly thirty miles away. I was slightly worried they were taking us out to a remote area to just leave us stranded. The big joke being us trying to hitchhike back home in our funny looking robes. One last great Senior prank. It would have been funny. Oh how we'd laugh about it in a couple of years. I'd of hated it.
In honor of the day, I thought I'd gather a few graduation speeches together. Click on the link to get the full text.
John Stewart: William and Mary (2004)
Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it.
Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.
People with a sense of humor tend to be less egocentric and more realistic in their view of the world and more humble in moments of success and less defeated in times of travail. I certainly don't delude myself that there aren't certainly more important things to do in life than make people laugh, but I can't imagine anything that would bring me more joy.
I had a thing happen to me when I was 9 years old, which is a great lesson. That was in 1929-the start of the Great Depression. And a single comic strip in the newspaper sent me into the future. The first comic strip of Buck Rogers. In October 1929 I looked at that one comic strip, with its view of the future, and I thought, "That's where I belong." I started to collect Buck Rogers comic strips. And everybody in the fifth grade made fun of me. I continued to collect them for about a month, and then I listened to the critics. And I tore up my comic strips. That's the worst thing I ever did. Two or three day later, I broke down. I was crying, and I said to myself, "Why am I crying? Whose funeral am I going to? Who died?" And the answer was, "Me." I'd torn up the future.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
[Mary Schmich wrote this as a funny article in the Chicago Tribune. Someone sent it out as a commencement speech given by Kurt Vonnegut. It became viral and spread far and wide under Vonnegut's name.]
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.[Image: Flickr: Graduation Cake Guy"; Uploaded on May 8, 2006 by CarbonNYC : http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/143186839/ :Creative Commons-Attribution 2.0 Generic]