Congratulations to you, graduates! Congratulations to parents, family, friends, supporters and all the educators! The success of one student is the success of his or her support system. You have all worked hard to make it ’til this day. You’ve made it: you’re here!!!
Graduates, there were so many times you did not feel like doing that homework, so many times you did not want to do this research project, so many times you wished you could cite Wiki because that’s what you read first anyway. I’m a fiction author so I get to do that too [laugh]. All this hard work leads to you being here, all dressed up in your gowns, to this day, to this stage. Soon, you will be called to walk across and receive your diploma.
Each one of you has different aspirations, different dreams and different goals. While some of you may be heading to the same college, most of you will be embarking on this journey alone, with all the blessings of your loved ones. You will get to make new friends, have new professors and start all over again as a freshman. As you know, it gets better. Continue to work hard, may you all find success in all your endeavors.
Success represents different things to different people. You can travel to the end of the world, learn about as many different cultures as you can, speak multiple languages. You can play sports, earn a business degree, become a multimillionaire and put cushions on these bleachers out there. The school paid me extra to say that [Laugh]. You can devote your life to science and research, find cures. You can study law, become a judge. You can stay at home, attend college, start your own business, become the next Bill Gates. You can join the military, give your life to God, volunteer to faraway lands to build hospitals and provide food and clean water. Basically, your opportunities to success are limitless. If you are on the quest to finding the biggest secret to life, Oprah has an answer for you. I quote “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever you goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” If only I can say this and sell millions of books [laugh].
Keep in mind that life is a journey. This graduation is not the end. This diploma represents the beginning of the next leg. You are now given a passport, a passport to the world. You can fill it with as many stamps as you wish. But remember, you have to fill it with stamps that means something to you, with stamps that you can look back upon and be proud of what you’ve accomplished, with stamps that will make you smile through your golden years, with stamps that brings back fond memories.
I do not want to be the poor soul standing between you and the parties. As I walk away from this stage, I want to leave you with just a couple words. Think of life as a passport. Fill it with meaningful stamps. So go ahead, graduates, the doors of the world are opened for you. Congratulations!
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