The best pieces of career advice from 2014′s celebrity commencement speeches
College commencement addresses have traditionally been filled with career and life advice for newly-minted grads. As graduation season winds to a close, we thought we’d share the best pieces of career advice we’ve heard from recent speeches given by celebrities. These stars often took some time to reflect on their own career trajectories and the lessons they’ve learned over the years. Here, in no particular order, are some of the highlights:
The creator of hit shows “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” urged Dartmouth grads to focusing on doing rather than dreaming.
So, Lesson One, I guess is: Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just … do. So you think, “I wish I could travel.” Great. Sell your crappy car, buy a ticket to Bangkok, and go. Right now. I’m serious.
You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don’t have a job? Get one. Any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity.
While receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award committee at Quinnipiac University the recently-retired Barbara Walters shared these tips for living a fulfilling life. While this isn’t from a commencement speech, we loved this advice so much we had to include it:
1) There has to be something you have to do, most important something you want to do.
2) You have to have someone to love, and to love you, not necessarily a family. Sometimes it’s just friends. I don’t have a big family. I have one child. I would be lost without my friends.
3) You have to have spirituality of some sort. I don’t mean that it has to be religion. It can be ethics. It can be a philosophy.
4) You have to have strength of purpose in mind.
The fashion designer focused on the lessons she learned from building her company while addressing graduates of Babson College.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t just a job title, and it isn’t just about starting a company. It’s a state of mind. It’s about seeing connections others can’t, seizing opportunities others won’t and forging new directions that others haven’t. It’s about being entrepreneurial wherever you are and in whatever you do. It’s about having the courage to give in to passion for an idea that makes your heart race. If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.
Addressing Harvard Law School grads on their Class Day, the sitcom star’s joke-filled speech turned serious for a moment. According to Mother Jones, “Kaling urged graduates to “please just try to be the kind of people [who] give advice to celebrities, not the other way around.” She continued: “You are entering a profession where no matter how bad the crime, or the criminal, you have to defend the alleged perpetrator. That’s incredible to me.”
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.