You’re not special…

I was surfing around the other night and through the miracle of random clicks on youtube, somehow stumbled upon this video of the commencement ceremony at a high end school in the U.S.  I really liked how this teacher formulated his speech.  Take a few minutes and see if you agree or disagree with me!

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Categories: Commentary | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “You’re not special…

  1. Nic

    I have to admit, I was almost one of the people who saw the words “you’re not special” and immediately assumed that this was going to be another embittered rant about “kids these days”. And don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of any graduate that does expect everything to be handed to them but I’m even less of a fan of anyone who assumes that every single graduate sets out with that attitude.

    Fortunately, David McCullough delivered anything but an embittered speech. He said, “You’re not special”, not “You’re worthless”. The way I’m reading it is that he was saying “The world doesn’t owe you anything” but in the same breath, urging those graduates to get the most out of life that they possibly can. And having the right reasons. These are the lines that I like best:

    “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

    When you graduate, you’re going to have all manner of people asking you “so what are your plans now?” in a vaguely threatening kind of way and they won’t be shy about showing you if they disapprove of your plans. But frankly, it’s none of their business. Don’t get me wrong, having the approval of those around you is nice, but your dreams belong to you. If you want to become a scientist, a doctor, fine. Chase that for all it’s worth but do it because it’s what you want to do. Not because those are the graduate jobs that are sure to make people nod approvingly. Your dreams must always be tempered with reality but you don’t have to justify them to anyone else.

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