As we near the end of the commencement season of 2016, we are inundated with news about famous speakers, speeches, and all the major events happening during this special time for graduates.
This is an interesting time of year to consider, since the majority of the world is not included in that small population we call the "Class of 2016." But it just goes to show how universal the pride and wisdom imparted during this time is. Commencement season--whether you're a graduate or not--is a time to reflect, listen to the lessons of others, celebrate accomplishments, and look to the future with hope.
With that, here are the top ten most inspirational commencement speeches this year:
"You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are--and you just might become the very best version of yourself."
"Care is as important as career. ... Career is investing in yourself. Learning, growing, and building on the education you received here. Care is investing in others. It is learning like a gardener, or a teacher, or a coach, what to do and what not to do to enable others to grow and flourish."
"There will be blind alleys and one-night wonders and soul-crushing jobs and wake-up calls and crises of confidence and moments of transcendence when you are walking down the street and someone will thank you for telling your story because it resonated with their own."
"Now's the time to seize the day, take advantage of this unique moment in history, and build bridges amongst us. Talking about gender, race, religion, and nations, not walls. Let us build bridges of love, versus walls of hate."
"Don't be so focused in your plans that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected."
"If you disagree with somebody, bring them in and ask them tough questions. Hold their feet to the fire. Make them defend their positions. If somebody has got a bad or offensive idea, prove it wrong. Engage it. Debate it. Stand up for what you believe in. Don't be scared to take somebody on. Don't feel like you got to shut your ears off because you're too fragile and somebody might offend your sensibilities. Go at them if they're not making any sense. Use your logic and reason and words. And by doing so, you'll strengthen your own position, and you'll hone your arguments. And maybe you'll learn something and realize you don't know everything. And you may have a new understanding not only about what your opponents believe but maybe what you believe. Either way, you win. And more importantly, our democracy wins."
"I want you to honor the legacy of our past by your work on the future."
"When life tells you no, find a way to keep things in perspective. That doesn't make the painful moments any less painful. But it does mean you don't have to live forever in the pain. You don't have to live forever in that no. Because if you know what you're capable of, if you're always prepared, and you keep things in perspective, then life has a way of turning a no into yes."
"Every stumble is not a fall, and every fall does not mean failure. Know the next right move when the mistake happens. Because being human means you will make mistakes. And you will make mistakes, because failure is God's way of moving you in another direction."
Sarah Drew, University of Virginia
"What do you do when the camera isn't on you? Who are you then? I believe that the way we answer that question will either set us on a path to freedom, joy, and impact, or will catch us in the grip of a never-ending chase for recognition, the driving desire to impress, the tyranny of achievement. ... When the camera isn't on you, what do you do? In real time, in real life, when people really need you in order to do what they need to do, how do you show up?"