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Give your commencement speech or just a word of advice

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 6:01 pm
by Drake014
Most of us won't be speaking at our UG commencements. Although I'm not even attending my graduation in Maryland, I was inspired by Baz Lurman's Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) to write my own commencement speech:

Post your commencement speech, or just give a short word of advice if you don't feel like writing out a long ass speech (yes, I'm well aware that I'm opening myself up for someone to post law_nuts FOB rant in here.)

Here's mine, read it if you care to, skip it and post your own if you don't:

To the class of 2009, there's only one valuable lesson that I can pass onto you that I learned from the mistakes I've made in my life: It is far less painful to learn from the poor choices of others than to make those poor choices yourself.

This isn't always as easy as it seems. The moral of the story changes from perspective to perspective. From my elders, I was told that things were better in the Good Ol' Days. As it turns out, the Good Ol' Days never existed. We remember the successes of the past and gloss over the failures. We skip over the triumphs of the present and concentrate on the setbacks.

If the Good Ol' Days exist, its as a state of mind, rather than a time in history. It seems that most only recognize in reminiscence that their earlier years were a period of endless possibilities. The person that you are right now has more potential for greatness than the person you will be in 10 years. This is true if you're 20 years old or 80 years young. Keep that in mind always.

I learned the same lesson from a happily married couple of over 60 years that I learned from an unhappily married couple of over 30: its even more important to marry someone you can live with under poor conditions and happily grow old with, than someone you enjoy in the good times and in youth. Life is short in fond reflection, its long and painful when you're living it miserably.

Never underestimate the power of people to believe what they want to believe rather than what the evidence tells them. If this power wasn't so strong, there would be no lawyers, salesmen, or politicians. By the way, this is why people don't like lawyers, salesmen, and politicians. Their very existence reflects a part of human nature that we're not proud of.

From the many people filled with hatred, I've learned you should never hate. Hatred is an emotion that, more often than not, harms the person feeling it more than the person its directed at.

Labeling someone is a form of laziness in thought. Its a process in which we value the action according to the person committing it rather than valuing the person by their actions.

There are no good and bad people. Someone whose made poor choices today, may make wise ones tomorow. Someone whose done good deeds today, may not have done so under different circumstances. The human condition is one in which people are often only as moral as their bellies are full.

Wealth and material possession can be taken away in a flash. Invest in yourself above everything else. Excercise, learn new things constantly, and grow as a person. Don't sell your integrity. Its the only thing you have that can never be taken from you. Its something that you have to trade away and its always worth more than what you're receiving for it.

Lastly, if you're proud of what you've accomplished today, you should be. You've worked hard and accomplished a feat. Just don't be conceded no matter how high you climb in life. Everyone is where they are mostly due to chance. Our personal choices make a world of difference, but most of those choices exist due to the place and time of our birth.


Re: Give your commencement speech or just a word of advice

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 3:13 am
by ubermensch
I couldn't disagree with you more.