“You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.”
Today, New York University held its first in-person graduation ceremony since the pandemic began. Students from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 were joined by Taylor Swift, who received an honorary doctorate and delivered this year’s commencement speech.
The musician and 11-time Grammy winner gave her address to an enormous crowd at Yankee Stadium. She cracked jokes, recounted personal anecdotes, offered words of encouragement, and shared some pretty poignant life advice.
“Hi, I’m Taylor. Last time I was in a stadium this size, I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard,” Taylor said to open her speech. “I am 90% sure I am here because I have a song called ’22.’ And let me just say, I am elated to be with you here today as we celebrate and graduate New York University’s Class of ’22.”
“Today, you leave New York University and then go out into the world, searching what’s next. And so will I,” she told graduates, whom she left with several important lessons — “life hacks” — based on her own experiences.
“Decide what is yours to hold, and let the rest go,” she said, noting how the effects of “one toxic relationship,” for example, can overshadow simple joys. “You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.”
Taylor also advised the graduating classes to “learn to live alongside cringe,” because “no matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively.”
“Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed cringe.”
Taylor concluded her commencement address with a few final thoughts on challenges, mistakes, and comebacks.
“Scary news is, you’re on your own now. Cool news is, you’re on your own now,” she said. “I leave you with this: We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars, and our dreams. You will screw it up sometimes. So will I. And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet.”
“Anyway, hard things will happen to us,” Taylor continued. “We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.”