The 10 Best Graduation Commencement Speeches Of All Time
In case you live under a rock, you might not have noticed all the graduation selfies and inspiring clichés young people around America have been posting about how they are ready to embark into the real world and how excited they are to be graduating college. It is quite a big deal to graduate college, it means you managed to beat all the odds: e.g. surviving your weed addiction and not getting killed by an STD from a sorority girl.
The thing about undergrad though is that it barely prepares you for the real world. In fact, I have actually learned more from TED talks than I have sitting in a college classroom. Graduation is a necessary reality check that says, “Hey, it’s time to actually be an adult and figure out life on your own,” but the four hours of pomp-and-circumstance-induced anxiety a graduate has while sitting there through speech after speech and name after name is anything but comfortable. The notion is quite sickening to any young adult finishing college.
Because college does such a terrible job of preparing you for the real world — and that is where graduation speeches come in. These speeches are usually given by very successful people, they last up to 10 minutes and attempt to explain life after college to you in a nutshell, letting you know what you should expect after you are handed your diploma and are told to go f*ck yourself.
Graduation commencement speeches are great. They are just what you need to hear and can actually teach you a thing or two about life. Below we have put together the 10 best videos of graduation commencement speeches that you can learn the most from, at any age. To view these speeches you don’t need to take out a college loan and you don’t need to study things you don’t want to, it’s all out there for your mind to take in for the price of nothing.
10. Will Ferrel, Harvard (2003)
Will Ferrell took the Class of 2003 on a wild verbal ride, touching on everything from the Berlin Wall to that guy voted most likely to eat nachos in his car – and even managed to fire an assistant in the process!
9.Bill Gates, Harvard (2007)
Bill Gates shows just how level the playing field can be: after dropping out of Harvard, he went on to found Microsoft and become one of the wealthiest men in the world.
8. Bono, University of Pennsylvania (2004)
Bono has given several commencement speeches at different universities and never fails to delight, from talking about “wearing a mirror-ball suit,” the last time he was in this particular arena, to admitting that he once slept with an economics professor — oh, and he also has some good advice!
7. Stephen Colbert, Knox College (2006)
Colbert, in his classic dead-pan style, admits that he’s not sure if he graduated from college after four years at Northwestern but then reminds the class just how successful his is. He also offers some great advice on everything from the real world to getting a job.
6. Jane Lynch, Smith College (2012)
The Emmy and Golden Globe winner got personal with the graduates, sharing her belief in a “yes, and…” life philosophy — taking improv comedy’s one and only rule and applying it to the everyday. Don’t worry, nobody broke out into song.
5. Aaron Sorkin, Syracuse University (2012)
His message to the graduates of Syracuse University wasn’t that you have to dress up as a moose to be successful — he talked about the flexibility of the future and overcoming life’s obstacles — but that’s what I took away from it.
4. J.K. Rowling, Harvard University (2008)
In her witty speech, Rowling recounts for her audience two important lessons life that she has been taught since her college graduation: the importance of failure and the importance of imagination.
3. Oprah Winfrey, Spelman College (2005)
Oprah has given out sage advice at numerous graduations, and this one is no exception. For the women of the Spelman class of 2005, Oprah had three messages: find who you are, look for ways to serve, and always do the right thing.
2.Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane (2009)
“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.” Ellen keeps it real with the graduates at Tulane.
1. Steve Jobs, Stanford (2005)
Steve Jobs went there, addressing death in a 2005 speech to Stanford, which was after his 2004 cancer diagnosis. Gradspot.com gave it an award for the “Best Ironically Uplifting Comment About Death.”