May 3, 2017


8 Graduation Speeches You'll Never Stop Thinking About

Getty Images
Getty Images

You've made it! Whether you're moving on from high school or college or tech school, you're jetting into a new era of your life. Are you inspired?!??

Even though you got a completed education, people will still be doling out advice for your new chapter. It's your choice if you want to listen or not.

Our advice? Listen, and watch these speeches below. They're Fuse favorites.

1. Jim Carrey at Maharishi University of Management in 2014

Jim Carrey's speech (with well over 10 million views now on YouTube) was all about realizing your identity and self-worth. He added in personal anecdotes of his childhood and how he uses his comedic talent to not only make others laugh, but to let his inner light shine. At the end, he presented the graduates with his original painting, a life-size rendition of ego, surrounded by haters. It reminds us that we all need to take chances to be the best we can be.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "Risk being seen in all of your glory"

2. Natalie Portman's at Harvard University in 2015

Natalie Portman spoke all about how she doubted herself and did things based on how her actions may be perceived by others. But along the way, she discovered how not to take herself too seriously, gaining personal experience despite what others think.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "Fear protects us in many ways. What does serve me is diving into my own obliviousness."

3. Lisa Kudrow at Vassar College in 2010

Phoebe Buffay Lisa Kudrow explained how she went from a biology major at Vassar to an actress on Friends, detailing all the bumps she had along the way. But she credited all her pitfalls with better opportunities that ensued. She encouraged graduates to elbow their way through failure until they find their true calling.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "Thank god I got fired!"

4. J. K. Rowling at Harvard University in 2008

Throughout her speech J.K. Rowling not only threw a few mentions to Harry Potter, but she talked about amnesty and the power of touching other people's lives. She stressed that everyone has an impact, no matter what their background or privilege, and that it's important to support things you believe in and denounce things you don't. 

The transcript of the speech was printed in a book called “Very Good Lives" and sold for charity.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better."

5. John Legend at University of Pennsylvania in 2014

John Legend's speech was all about love, not only in your work and your personal lives, but loving the whole world. He urged people to see others as humans and not as their mistakes and to love strangers, dropping homophobia and prejudice along the way.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "Dare to love those who are different from you."

6. Ellen Degeneres at Tulane University in 2010

Ellen Degeneres' speech was more like a stand-up routine, but it had an excellent message. Through examples of personal tragedy and her come-up, she proved that success doesn't mean fame or fortune; it means freeing yourself from what other people may think of you.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "I found the more important thing is to be true to yourself."

7. Oprah Winfrey at Howard University in 2007

Oprah explained in this speech about how she stayed true to herself and developed her own freedom. While maintaining her integrity, she ignored her opponents and the people who thought they knew better for her. Put simply, be yourself, and that's how you'll be successful.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "My integrity is not for sale, and neither is yours."

8. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Wellesley College in 2015

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie came to Wellesley to tell the graduates that they should never settle for doing something just because they're women. She doled out several other bits of much-needed feminist advice, along with advice about love. Like the Beyoncé song that Adichie was featured on, this speech was ***flawless.

Quote that hits us in the gut: "Your standardized ideologies will not always fit your life, because life is messy."