Wake up! Life is happening here. Right now.
Sometimes we forget that, and if wisdom truly is wasted on the young, the worst time to impart wisdom is to a bunch of exhausted twenty-somethings in rickety folding chairs trying not to scratch where that rented gown is making them itch.
Whether or not you've walked across that stage, commencement speeches are best enjoyed like fine wine: thoughtfully, and with a little age. Here are some of our favorite graduation quotes to inspire your day:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition… Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005
“There’s no there. That elusive ‘there’ with the job, the beach house, the dream, it’s not out there. There is here. It’s in you… right now.” – Brian Kenny, Ohio Northern University, 2007
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” – Winston Churchill, Harrow School, 1941
“If you want to play a game, go to where it’s played and find a way to get in. Things happen when you get in the game.” – Chris Matthews, Temple University, 2011
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all -- in which case, you fail by default.” – JK Rowling, Harvard University, 2008
“Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.” – Jon Stewart, The College of William & Mary 2004
“It is likely that human beings will find fulfillment and will be rewarded for the same qualities that they have been rewarded for for 5,000 years. And that is intelligence, hard work, honesty, a sense of character, loyalty to family and friends, and above all, love and faith. If you are trying to decide what you should do, those are the things you should do. And you know it.” – Fareed Zakaria, Bates College, 2009
“You cannot continue to succeed in the world or have a fulfilling life in the world unless you choose to use your life in the service somehow to others and give back what you have been given. That’s how you keep it. That’s how you get it. That’s how you grow it.” – Oprah Winfrey, Howard University, 2007
“Success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you’re desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.” – Conan O’Brien, Harvard University, 2000
“Nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face. Never.” – Woody Hayes, The Ohio State University, 1986
“So I will end with this quote: Hey ya Hey ya Hey ya Hey ya Hey ya Hey ya Hey ya alright alright alright alright alright alright. The group: OutKast. The song: "Hey Ya!" The lyrics: Nonsense. I’m sorry, it was really late when I wrote this.” – Amy Poehler , Harvard University, 2011
“Wear sunscreen.” – Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune column, 1997 "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young"