These 2014 Commencement Speeches Are A Great Reminder That YOUR LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN.

By Joey Parker and Danica Davidson

Let’s begin with a big congratulations to the class of 2014! You now can now scream “Let it go! Let it go!” in reference to final exams. But before you kick off your shoes and feel totally breezy, it is important to remember that YOUR LIFE HAS JUST BEGUN. We know you’re probably totally zonked, so we decided to rally together a handful of speeches from around the country that we felt summed up some important advice for you as you begin this next chapter. Each year we see everything from celebs to politicians who preach some wise words to the graduating class, and this year was no different.

+  Diddy 

Sean "Diddy" Combs Delivers Commencement Address at Howard University

Puff Daddy, Puffy, Sean Combs, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, — this guy obviously loves a little re-invention.  Diddy  stopped by Howard University to dish some advice to the graduating class about pushing yourself so you don’t become a bad boy for life (sorry). From opening up about his past, to praising his mother for her strength, it was quite the speech.

“One day, you’re going to be sitting in the dark like I was, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’” he said. “In that moment, I want you to remember the power in you. Nobody is going to take you to the front of the line — you need to push to the front of the line.”

+ NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio

Expedition 39 Soyuz TMA-11M Landing

They say that showing up is half the battle, which makes this one of the most unique commencement speeches we have ever seen. Since Rick couldn’t attend the graduation for University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering, he decided to do the speech from SPACE! Yep, the NASA astronaut spoke floating high above in the International Space Station.

“You become an astronaut the same way you accomplish any goal — through hard work and perseverance,” he said. “Everyone has goals, dreams and wishes, but not everybody wants to do the daily work it takes to reach their goals.”

+ Rainn Wilson


Funnyman Rainn Wilson was the chosen speaker for USC’s big event, and it may possibly be one of my fave speeches of the year! His address was filled with so much advice you will need a pen to jot some notes down (I know, ugh, more homework).

“In this me-me-me culture, focus on yourself [and you will] find only misery, depression, emptiness,” he said. “Focus on helping others [and you will find] joy, contentment, gratitude and buckets and buckets of eudaimonia.” 

Wow, smart guy! Eudaimonia is from Aristotelian ethics and comes from the Greek for “good spirit.”

+ Michelle Obama 

If there was ever a person who was born to make commencement speaches, it is First Lady Michelle Obama. She told the Topeka graduating seniors how it is important to always be pursuing education.

“Imagine the impact you will make,” she said. “You have no excuses to stand on the sidelines. Education is still the key to real and lasting freedom. It’s up to us to cultivate that hunger for education in those coming after us.”

+ Jill Abramson

Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson Gives Commencement Address At Wake Forest University
When Jill Abramson was let go from the New York Times earlier this month, it began a (much needed) global discussion on gender equality within the workforce. During her speech at Wake Forest University, she opened up about the recent firing and the important lesson of resilience.

“I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school,” she said. “You know the sting of losing or not getting something you really want. When that happens, show what you are made of. It meant more to our father to see us deal with a setback and see us try to bounce back than how we handled our successes. ‘Show what you are made of,’ he’d say.”

+ Sandra Bullock 

Oh Sandy, where do we even begin with how much we adore the living hell outta you? Although Sandra didn’t do a COLLEGE commencement speech, she did do a (surprise) speech at the Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans! The advice she dished was so spot-on we had to share!

“Stop worrying so much,” she said. “I don’t remember any of the moments in my life where I worried. Raise the bar higher. Nothing is a failure; it’s just not supposed to work out.

“Eat something green every day. Do not pick your nose in public. How about we just go get a tissue? When someone who cares about you hugs you, hug them back. If someone doesn’t want to play with you, it’s okay. Not everybody is going to love us.”

She continued, “And last but not least, go find your joy. It’s what you’re going to remember in the end. It’s not the worry, it’s not the what-ifs. It’s the joy that stays with you. And I want to thank you for the joy that Warren Easton brings me every day.”

+ John Legend 

I will leave you with John’s speech from the University of Pennsylvania — where he basically shot a burning arrow right into the center of THE BEST ADVICE EVER! On top of being a talented musician (who’s also married to the brilliant Chrissy Teigen), he is so damn smart.

“Dare to love those who are different from you, no matter where they’re from, what they look like, and who they love,” he said. “The key to success, the key to happiness, is opening your mind and your heart to love.”

Photo: (Getty, USC, Washington Post,, Billboard)

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