These Graduation Speech Videos Will Give You All the Feels

These Graduation Speech Videos Will Give You All the Feels

Well, it’s May.  The month some of us have been waiting for, for how long? Months? Four years? Our lives? It’s here.  The time of graduating is so exhilarating, so anticipated, and yet so terrifying all at the same time. No matter what lies beyond graduation, whether you know what you want to be doing, or are just figuring it out, these speeches can help inspire you to realize that this is a truly exciting time. A time when we have agency over our lives, and the ability to create change—not just for ourselves, but for our communities, wherever they may be. Ready to get inspired? Read on to hear some of the best commencement speeches out there, and be prepared to cry (I know I did).

Shonda Rhimes

School: Dartmouth

Class Of: 2014

Most Inspiring Quote: “A lot of people dream, and while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people are busy doing […] dreams are lovely, but they are just dreams: fleeting, ephemeral, pretty.  But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen, it’s hard work that creates change. ”

Oprah Winfrey

School: Harvard University

Class Of: 2013

Most Inspiring Quote: “It doesn’t matter how far you might rise.  At some point, you are bound to stumble, because if you’re constantly doing what we do, raising the bar, if you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages, not to mention the myth of Icarus, predicts that you will, at some point, fall.  And when you do, I want you to know this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Christian Louboutin

School: Fashion Institute of Technology

Class Of: 2014

Most Inspiring Quote: “Do not necessarily pursue a very specific goal. Be more gentle with yourself… You should enjoy the process of everyday. It is a journey of all these everydays which will constitute your career, not a precise target.  An achievement is not one day in the future, it is a sum of all these moments where you have learned, and loved, and nourished your passion.”

Anna Quindlen

School: Washington University in St. Louis

Class Of: 2017

Most Inspiring Quote: “What you can embrace is a life that feels like it belongs to you, not one made up of tiny fragments of the expectations of a society that, frankly, in most of its expectations, is not worthy of you. And that requires courage, not compliance; passion in lieu of simply plans.”

Toni Morrison

School: Wellesley College

Class Of: 2004

Most Inspiring Quote: “The person you are is like nobody else on the planet. Nobody has the exact memory that you have. What is now known is not all that you are capable of knowing. You are your own stories.”

Neil Gaiman

School: The University of the Arts

Class Of: 2012

Most Inspiring Quote: “When you start out, in a career, in the arts, you have no idea what you’re doing.  This is great. People who know what they’re doing, know the rules, and they know what is possible and what is impossible, you do not.  And you should not. The rules on what is possible and what impossible in the arts, were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them.  And you can. If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.”

Bobbi Brown

School: Fashion Institute of Technology

Class Of: 2014

Most Inspiring Quote: “No job or task is too small or beneath you.  If you want to get ahead, volunteer for the things no one else wants to do, and do it better.”

Ellen DeGeneres

School: Tulane University

Class Of: 2009

Most Inspiring Quote: “For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and not to give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not. To live your life as an honest and compassionate person. To contribute in some way. ”

Zadie Smith

School: The New School

Class Of: 2014

Most Inspiring Quote: “You are all individuals, but you are also part of a generation. And generations are defined by projects they take on together. ”

Michelle Obama

School: Dillard University

Class Of: 2014

Most Inspiring Quote: “You all have opportunities and skills and education that so many folks who came before you, never could have dreamed of. So just imagine the kind of impact that you’re going to make.”

What do you think is the best graduation speech of all time? Let us know your favorite video in the comments below!

Featured photo by @jordanshiley.