Graduation is a weird thing. I should probably say “event” or “achievement,” but my ambiguity towards graduation and what it all means makes it seem appropriate to deem the act as more of an amorphous blob than anything solid and definable. I attended one college graduation as a kid and it didn’t mean much to me. I never dreamed of the day I would graduate from college so when the day came it was more of a blur than a gratifying experience. My own uncertainty towards college in general probably has a lot to do with it. This thing they call “college” seemed more like a four year vacation than an era of higher learning the majority of the time. Just the next step in this process called “life.”
I think what disappointed me most on that fateful day was the shit graduation speech my school president barfed up as she walked in the door that morning. The only thing I can remember her blabbing about was a statue of some wrestler dude outside the building and the fact that the Olympic wrestling trials had taken place a few weeks prior where we were now sitting. She went on and on about wrestling to a stadium full of Liberal Arts students. Very relate-able. Made me want to flash everyone in attendance as I crossed the stage.
All in all, she made it clear which event meant more, and that felt like shit. Maybe some clarity on what the last four years were supposed to mean? Words of encouragement for the future? Direction? Insight on “the real world?” But that’s expecting too much from someone of Sally Mason’s caliber. Like most of academia, she can’t say much about the real world or speak of practical applications (hence this waste of four years). And in my dismay for what was meant to be an inspiring event, I’ve come across a few lucky graduating classes who got their money’s worth.
The first features Neil Boortz’s address to the 2012 graduating class of Texas A&M (.pdf link), and deals with this issue of college faculties and their propensity for H.U.B.S. He goes on quite a riff concerning how the country is run, as well, and clearly demarcates the difference between liberals and conservatives (some of his views may seem extreme), but all in all he does a great job of clearing the air and delivering a fresh input. It’s a longer read, but well worth it. Maybe just read his “random thoughts” wrap-up if you’re a lazy piece of shit.
But that’s all a bit heavy on the “problems of America” and very much something your dad would send you to get you off your lazy ass (my dad sent me that speech, no joke). Next up is David McCullough Jr.’s speech to bunch of rich high school kids. You might have heard something about this historian’s “You’re Not Special” theme, as it has circulated the last few weeks. It stands as more middle-ground compared to the last and is motivational and humorous instead of so heavy and opinionated. David even addresses the “YOLO” phenomenon.
And finally, I present you the most light-hearted, yet surprisingly motivational speech. Presented by the youngest of the three who has the least traditional job, maybe it can stand as the “new” success route. Eugene Mirman writes and does some voices for the animated show Bob’s Burgers and obviously loves it. You probably won’t be running a major corporation following his advice, but you didn’t want that anyway, right?
But let’s get real. Here’s a nice, friendly motivation speech from Immortal Technique showcasing how far you can go.
And in case you are gunning for that high-up chairman-of-the-board type career steez, take this with you for some enjoyment: