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A MESSAGE FOR THE GRADUATING CLASS OF 2017

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the graduating class of 2017,

Today, you set forth on the next step in your journey, leaving these hallowed halls and heading out into the world. You are the future leaders of our society, and I trust that we will be in good hands. Before you leave today, I want to offer some small pieces of advice that I have learned over the years.

First, wear sunscreen.

Work to live, don’t live to work. If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.

You may face adversity in your future. You might find yourself on a path that seems fruitful, only to find it’s not what you thought it was.

You may encounter difficult bosses and stressful situations.

Never give up, though. Believe in yourself, persevere, and you’ll find a place where you belong.

And remember, if ever the wide world seems too brutal, too harsh, too unforgiving: you can always block out the negativity and come back to where you began.

I’m not going to stand here today and tell you what direction to take. I can’t tell you what job you should do.

The kind of person who gives you that kind of advice might be in for some rude surprises in their own life.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Work like you don’t need the money.

Dance like no one’s looking.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Just be yourself.

That’s what truly matters in the end. I mean, look at me: they said I’d never make it. That I couldn’t reach these heights. That I wasn’t cut out for the job, I didn’t “fit the mold”. You have to shut out those voices, and embrace the ones you truly care about.

But trust me on the sunscreen.