Forget your commencement address; better yet, replace it.
I don’t remember who addressed my commencement ceremony as an undergraduate or a graduate student at UTSA. Maybe I was just too caught up in the moment, or maybe the years that have passed have just been unkind to my memory of those days.
That’s not a knock on the speakers themselves; it’s just the result of the years passing. Perhaps more than anything, it’s the result of ongoing learning that either supplanted what I learned from those addresses with more up to date information or a clarification of my personal values that made it easier to file the addresses in the “recycle bin” of my brain.
I forgot the content of my commencement addresses because it got buried under a pile of other amazing works of speech and life experience, and I’m okay with that.
If I had the opportunity to advise graduates, I’d say that it’s essential to go out and do things that will make your commencement address seem small in retrospect. You should strive to look back and not quite recall what was said because you’ve committed yourself to family, friends, your profession, and the things that matter most to you.
We should all be able to say “my commencement speech? I’m sure it was great, but I can’t honestly remember what was said. I’ve written my own story since then, and I’m pretty happy with it.”
Photo credit: By Tulane Public Relations (Business Graduate Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons