POPin Blog

Graduation Inspiration

Caps, mortarboards, tams and tassels. It’s graduation season…a rite of passage and a grand accomplishment for the four (maybe five) years of hard work and study (and for many parents, a relief – no more tuition payments!). But on that particular day as the graduates file in, backs straight under their robes, tassels hanging to the right of their mortarboards, we’ll listen with rapt attention to the commencement speakers who, we hope, will say something life changing. Whether you are from the class of 2015, 1995 or 1975, there are many pearls of wisdom and insight that can impact us even today. And above all, it’s a moment for everyone, even those who didn’t graduate, to feel inspired.“Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.” Marissa Mayer, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2009“What’s your big idea? What are you willing to spend your moral capital, your intellectual capital, your cash, your sweat equity in pursuing outside of the walls of the University of Pennsylvania? … [T]he world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.” —Bono, University of Pennsylvania, 2004“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.” – Nora Ephron, Wellesley, 1996“Be just as…delusionally positive as possible. It’s a very cynical place out there sometimes and that cynicism will eat at your energy and your potential. – Sal Khan, MIT, 2012“A lot of the time the experts, the people who are supposed to be able to tell you what to do, will tell you that you can’t do something even when you know you can. And a lot of the time it’s your friends … who tell you you can do it.” —Mark Zuckerberg, Belle Haven Elementary School (yes, really), 2011“It is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams….Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition.” Larry Page, University of Michigan, 2009“All I can tell you today is what I have learned. What I have discovered as a person in this world. And that is this: you can’t do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own.” – Amy Poehler, Harvard, 2011“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” — Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts, 2012

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