If You Could Give Graduates Advice, What Would It Be?

Linda LaitalaBusiness, EmployeesLeave a Comment

June.  The month of  endings and beginnings for millions of students across the country.  Commencement speakers bestow wisdom on graduates in hope that some of it will make an impact.
What would you say if you were asked to speak to graduates?  Here are a few of my favorite commencement remarks.Live your life like it’s your second chance.”   ~Salman Khan    Imagine yourself in 50 years.  The career successes, the great moments and also the regrets, those things you wish you had done differently.  “I stand here, excited by what you, the MIT class of 2012 – the young wizards of our time – a time like no other in human history.  What will you do with your second chance?”  Watch the entire speech here.The way you perceive and react to the world is a choice.”   ~David Foster Wallace
A liberal arts degree is about teaching you how to think and to learn how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.  “Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”  
And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep you from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely imperially alone day in and day out.”
Watch the entire speech: (Part 1, Part 2).

You’re the first generation preparing for a 50-year work life.”  ~Carol Bartz
Your work life is very, very long. You’re the first generation preparing for a 50-year work life, and you know why. You have to support all of us.   Retirement at 62 and 65 will be a thing of the past.  Think of this as a series of opportunities.  People used to go to a job and stay there forever.  “How boring is that?”
Watch the entire speech here.

Finally, Hank Blank says it straight.  “Young people shouldn’t try to find a job”.  

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