Editorial: Oh, the speeches you will hear
Beginning at their respective commencements and extending over the course of these next few months, these students will likely become submerged in a tidal wave of advice from parents, grandparents, older siblings and Twitter. Some of it will stick; most of it will not. As has become our yearly ritual, the Chester County Press went searching for words of advice spoken at commencement exercises by some of our nation's most recognized and respected individuals.
To the graduates of Avon Grove, Kennett, Oxford and Unionville high schools, may the following words help guide your bright futures.
“My fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of 'What if?' What if I never tried at all...? It helps to try to enjoy the process without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut; keep throwing darts at the dartboard. Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.”
Will Farrell, comedian and actor
“Today, my advice for you is to take a page out of the Goldilocks story. Watch out for virtues that burn too hot, not just too cold. If you want to be resilient, find the right amount of generosity and authenticity and grit.”
Adam Grant, Wharton School management professor and coauthor of
“Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy”
“Ignore the silly '30-under-30' list that the Internet throws at you before you’ve even had your morning cup of coffee. Those will be the bane of your existence post-graduation, trust me. Trust me. Comparing yourself to others' success only slows you down from finding your own.”
Actress Octavia Spencer
"My generation was going to change the world. We started some things. But you've got to finish them. We got civil rights and voting rights passed. Now gerrymandering and voter suppression is taking it away. We started women's rights and LGBTQ rights; you've got to finish it. You've got separation of church and state behind you, but be aware the biggest threat to this country is religious extremists, some foreign, mostly domestic. We established environmental protection, and now the environment is under attack like never before. You know the future is green. I know the future is green. You've got to finish the job."
Steven Van Zandt, guitarist for the E-Street Band
“These great scientists, public servants, and activists cannot be bothered with building their Instagram followers, or how many views they get on Youtube … But they are the real influencers. Their work makes us healthier, safer, more enriched, and more intelligent.”
Singer Pharrell Williams
“You will have good days and you will have hard days. Go through all of them together. Seek shared experiences with all kinds of people. Write shared narratives that create the world you want to live in. Build shared hope in the communities you join and the communities you form. And above all, find gratitude for the gift of life itself and the opportunities it provides for meaning, for joy, and for love.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg