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Graduation Season Reimagined | KazSource blog

Graduation Season Reimagined

Oh, the joys of graduation season, right? The grand processions, caps soaring through the air, tight hugs, endless photo sessions, celebratory parties, and that quintessential rite of passage. And speakers – my gosh, the speakers! They come bearing updates, stories, names, lessons, and the unspoken “look at me” aura.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all speakers send you yawning. But at times, these events feel less about celebrating the students and more about providing a stage for the speaker. However, every now and then, you may strike gold and discover a speaker who resonates. And I guess, if two out of every ten events reward you with such a gem, that’s not a bad deal.

Nowadays, thanks to the internet, we’re spoiled for choice. You fancy having Jim Carrey as your graduation speaker? Just hit YouTube. Want to hear Michael Keaton utter those three famous words at the end of his recent speech? Yep, “I am Batman” is just a click away. Keen on the U.S. Surgeon General’s insights about being a good person, social media, and mental health? Watch his commencement speech at Arizona State University’s 2023 graduation. Sure, the folks present got to witness these speeches live, which must’ve been a thrill. But for the rest of us, well, at least we’re saved from the torture of those plastic folding chairs.

The truth is, the speeches aren’t confined to the graduation arena. Want some inspiration or motivation? Pick a scene from a movie. Sports fan? Revel in the speeches from Friday Night Lights, Any Given Sunday, or Miracle. YouTube junkie? Watch Jordan B. Peterson talk about cleaning your room, The Rock’s pep talk to the LA Lakers, or Gary Vaynerchuk’s lecture to the USC football team about being kind.

Podcasts, too, are a treasure trove of content. Inspirational stuff that makes you feel like you’re at a graduation ceremony.

However, let’s get one thing straight. The highlight of graduation isn’t the speeches but the students. The sight of them receiving their diplomas, the cheers as a loved one walks across the stage – these are the moments to savor. So, go ahead and cheer, shout, hug, snap photos, laugh, and party it up!

Yet, it’s odd how the graduation process, that road leading up to the moment when it’s about the students crossing the stage, feels like a throwback to the days of the ancient Greeks or Romans. All the robes and formalities, do they make our professors feel like Stoics? Is this pageantry something they even relish?

Tradition has its charm, of course. But how about injecting a bit more levity into the proceedings? Maybe shifting the spotlight more on the students – not just those bagging prestigious awards, but every single one who made it to graduation day. Let’s enjoy discovering new speakers, and if for some reason the speaker at a graduation ceremony didn’t hit for you, I have one for you that will. One that will have you yearning for another graduation season. Even if you’ve seen it before, watch it again. And again. In that spirit of graduation speeches, here is that memorable closing from Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement address at the University of Texas, Austin.

If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014 (or any year for that matter), you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away from starting to change the world — for the better. It will not be easy. 

But, YOU are the class of 2014, the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.

And what started here will indeed have changed the world — for the better.

Thank you very much. Hook ’em horns. (source | full transcript)

Thanks for reading Graduation Season Reimagined. Now onto an article about clear thinking and decision-making.

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