I’m giving a commencement speech at my alma mater in London on July 14th.
I don’t think my husband can make it, but Jennifer McClure will join me. And I have enough friends in London that one of them will surely record the speech. I promise to share the video once it’s live. I can’t wait to watch myself say awkward things to a bunch of graduates who are bummed that my college couldn’t score a bigger blogger.
(Sorry, kids, but The Bloggess isn’t an alum of Regent’s University. I’ll do my best to be brief, but I’m compelled to spend at least ten minutes telling you how to live your lives. Welcome to adulthood.)
I have no idea how to give a commencement speech, but there are plenty of inspirational speeches on Facebook. Unfortunately, I took Facebook off my phone during the month of June. So I asked a bunch of friends to tell me where to find the best commencement addresses.
My friend, Ita Olsen, likes this speech by Jim Carrey. Tim Sackett referred me to the always popular Wear Sunscreen speech by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune. And other friends sent me multiple links to Michelle Obama and Steven Spielberg, which were good to watch and read.
I also went back and watched President Obama give the commencement address at Kalamazoo Central High School, which is particularly moving to watch given the fact that we’re nearing the end of his presidency. Boy, he was so young. We really ruined that guy, didn’t we?
Obama talks about personal responsibility, which is boring and safe, but he gives a lot of love to the parents and students in the room. I’m definitely copying that move.
I’m still writing my speech, but I know this much: it’s not in my DNA to be emotionally heavy-handed and deliberately inspirational. At best, I hope to honor the graduates by saying something helpful. At worst, I hope they remember that they had a commencement speaker and she wasn’t terrible.
If I land somewhere in the middle, the day is a success.
Most importantly, I hope to convey that it’s an absolute privilege to share someone’s graduation day. I’m happy to have been asked. It’s been twenty years since I attended Regent’s University London, and it was one of the happiest times of my life.
I’m excited to meet the class of 2016 and hear their stories. Wish me luck!