Commencement Speeches: Most Suck, These

May 11 [Sat], 2013, 7:12
College graduation is a hallmark moment for students across the country; a time of infinite hope where young adults are released into the world with the kind of optimism that can only come from having too little life experience.

And commencement speeches usually reflect that innocence, imbuing students with the same rote messages of triumph, calling on them to Reach for the stars! and Make your dreams come true!

While those messages of blind encouragement are kind, theyre not entirely helpful. In reality, life is far more vague than its portrayed, its pathways to success meandering and elusive; its difficulties at times meaningless and infinite. Its certainly not an endless loop of victory laps.

Thats why these may be the best commencement speeches ever, the kind that are empowering because theyre honest. Because telling people to reach for the stars is great, but giving them the tools to face those moments when they fail is a true act of compassion.

David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College