New college graduates can use all the career advice they can get. A graduation ceremony itself is often loaded with it, though many of us probably can’t recall who our keynote speaker was and what he or she had to say.
That’s likely not the case with some of this year’s graduates who were lucky enough to have big-name speakers for their college or high school graduation ceremonies. We took a glance at some of the notable names to offer their tips and inspiration in recent weeks. Here’s a sample:
“The Science Guy” spoke at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. “I say if people go into the world, and they go in ready for change, change will happen,” he said, according to Boston Magazine.
Words of wisdom: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t, and this is troubling for us know-it-alls. But respect their knowledge. Learn from them — it’ll bring out the best in both of you. I want you all to keep looking up and out into the cosmos, and question things … change the world!”
The Oscar-winning actress spoke at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans, and offered her “tips to leading a happy life,” according to Business Insider.
Words of wisdom: “Raise the bar higher. For some reason, people out there want to see you fail, but that’s not your problem — that’s their problem. I only remember the moments when I tried beyond what I thought I could do, and I do not remember the failures because I didn’t. Nothing is a failure. It’s just not supposed to work out that way because something better is supposed to come along.”
The former editor of The New York Times spoke at Wake Forest. She acknowledged her recent firing and her own uncertain future, according to Time, by saying, “I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you.”
Words of wisdom: “Some of you, and now I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped, not getting the job you really wanted, or gotten those rejection letters from grad schools, you know the sting of losing, or not getting something you really want. When that happens, show what you are made of.”
The hip-hop mogul also known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and Diddy, spoke at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Combs attended Howard but left before graduation. He now has an honorary doctorate, says The Washington Post.
Words of wisdom: “One day, you’re going to be sitting in the dark like I was, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ In that moment, I want you to remember the power in you. … Nobody is going to take you to the front of the line — you need to push to the front of the line.”
The Oscar-winning actor spoke at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He called education “a lifelong process,” according to theDayton Daily News.
Words of wisdom: “Our day-to-day lives are shaped by the sum of countless inconspicuous acts; acts of sacrifices from generations of anonymous heroes who came before us, acts of love from our parents, acts of kindness from random strangers. Behind every worthwhile human achievement, big or small, there is, at least, one small act of kindness.”
The First Lady spoke at a graduation ceremony for five high schools in Topeka, Kansas, and referenced the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. “Graduates, it’s up to all of you to lead the way and drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you,” she said, according to The Kansas City Star.
Words of wisdom: “I’m not going to lie to you. This won’t be easy. You might have to ruffle a few feathers, and folks might not always like what you have to say. So, graduates, that is your mission: to make sure all those voices are heard, to make sure everyone in this country has a chance to contribute.”
In a smart and funny move, Cornell University brought in the comedic actor to speak at a recent graduation. Helms played proud Cornell grad Andy Bernard on the TV series The Office. Among his career advice tips for the graduates: join any film with Hangover in the title, says The Huffington Post.
Words of wisdom: “When you try hard at everything you do, even if it feels utterly foolish to do so, you’re opening up future doors and possibilities that you might not be seeing in the moment.”