Graduation season is here! We all know the drill: the processional of robe–and-cap clad young people, the pomp and circumstance. And let’s not forget the commencement speech. The speaker is tasked with sending out a new batch of graduates with final words that encompass and sum-up their years of study. Most speeches are quickly forgotten, although a few standout due to the presenter or content. For example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave an unforgettable address to Berkeley’s 2016 class, and it is praised as one of the best. David Foster Wallace’s profound 2005 speech at Kenyon College, titled This Is Water, was later published as a book. And powerhouse Bill Gates tweeted to all 2017 graduates his words of wisdom, proving that sometimes fewer words are just as effective as a 25-minute speech.
In this ounce of Persuasion fast chat, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson consider the typical wisdom commencement speakers dispense to graduates, which usually includes something about following dreams and refusing to settle for less than the best in life. The words are heavy on sunshine, but light in terms of real life wisdom for college grads. Into that void, Erin and Hannah offer a few practical tips for young people as they embark on the journey that is adulthood.
Listen to Persuasion Episode 98:
Links from the episode:
This Is Water, Commencement Speech by David Foster Wallace (video excerpt)
Theme music by Maiden Name.