3 Graduation Speeches to Help You Succeed in the Real World

Posted on May 17, 2011 by kennynorton No Comments

This time last year, I was walking across the stage at Acadia University to accept my diploma from President, Ray Ivany. It was a day that I treat with great meaning as that diploma, when considering all opportunity costs is my most expensive possession. Not only that, but I learned more in my 5 years (yes.. 5 with 3 internships) than any other 5 years of my life. The people I’ve met, the ideas that were generated and of course the learning, all of these things I place an infinite value.

So I decided with this post to put together a quick collection of some very insightful and inspiring convocation speeches to get this year’s new graduates excited about what is to come. The lessons you can learn in these speeches can be attributed to any career path. And you don’t have to be a new grad to learn from them. I’m always keen to learn from others failures, and all three of these speeches are packed full of life lessons.

Dennis Crowley – Co-Founder of Foursquare at Syracuse – 2011

This is the most recent video of the three. Dennis was a former graduate from the well known social check-in website Foursquare, and talks about his time to get to where he is today. I actually relate heavily with this speech, and I think once you watch it you will too. The key take away for me here, is that if you find yourself in a place where you’re not in love with your job, don’t get depressed, there’s always better things to come.

Steve Jobs – CEO of Apple at Stanford – 2005

This speech CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs breaks down his story to get to where he is today, and also gives advice of how to be truly happy. After hearing this quote a long time a go, it has stuck with me. (Loosely paraphrased) “You have to find what you love. The only way to be truly satisfied is if you do great work. The only way to do great work, is to love what you do. Don’t settle. And you’ll know when you find it. Like any great relationship it just gets better and better. So keep looking, don’t settle.” With our generation, it is more commonly expected for the average person to make several career moves, where our parents may have worked at the same company their entire life, I still think this quote has a lot of strength to it, and I will always have it in the back of mind in my pursuit of happiness.

Bobby Knight – Trine University – 2010

This is just an incredible example of story telling to really hit home a solid message. Bobby Knight is a legendary NCAA basketball coach, a couple of these stories really hit home with me. The first being, dealing with extremely picky bosses, and the second being with capitalizing on great opportunities, or when the pitch is in the strike zone. The emphasis of changing your approach from High School to NCAA or in education’s terms – Undergraduate to the professional world.

There you have it, 3 amazing commencement speeches. Good luck to all of the new graduates, and also thanks for reading. If you have some of your own I would love for you to share them in the comments!

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