A few weeks back, I received an email from the President of my alma mater, asking if I would deliver this year’s commencement address. I called the dean immediately to accept. He informed me that the email was sent by mistake and had been intended for the much more famous MSU alum Magic Johnson. I told him he was too late, and that he had to let me do it. We argued until he finally gave up and allowed me to deliver my address. Below is the transcript:
Four years ago, when you were here for orientation, the dean of admissions told you to look at the person on your left and the other on your right. He told you that one of them wouldn’t make it to their sophomore year. They would be killed by disease or famine, or by the dean himself.
And here you are, the survivors, as well as the ghosts of those from orientation.
Now you’re about to receive the most important piece of paper you’ll ever receive. No, it’s not a million dollar bill, or a billion dollar bill or even a trillion dollar bill. I don’t even know why you think you would receive something like that.
It’s also not a zillion dollar bill. This college doesn’t have that kind of money and you’ve done nothing to earn it.
I’m talking about your college degree.
There are many who would say it’s a piece of paper that will open a lot of doors for you. Those are people who are trying to trick you into ruining your degree, so you will have to retake all of your classes all over again. Probably the dean.
The truth is, it’s the first page of a new chapter of your life. A very boring chapter that is extremely short and makes no sense.
Now is a time for change and change can be difficult, but necessary.
Think about the caterpillar. If it doesn’t enter the cocoon, it never becomes a beautiful butterfly. Now think of all of those times you fell asleep in a sleeping bag. How come you never got wings?
When you were a child, you saw the world through the eyes of a child. When you became an adult, you started seeing the world through the eyes of a fly. Someone had switched the lenses in your glasses with kaleidoscopic glass.
Many of you have been told that now is the time to go out, explore the world and apply your talents, but I would argue that it’s rude to walk out in the middle of a speech and remind you that there are armed guards at each exit. Many of them were grads, just like you who couldn’t get jobs.
There are those who would tell you that the world is your oyster. That if you just crack it open, you will find the pearl you seek. But those people are probably just trying to get you to dig something for free.
There those who will tell you that your future is limited only by your own imagination. However, your future is also limited by something else. The impending robotic uprising.
There are those who will say that the torch is being passed from past generations to you, but it’s not. We never had a torch and we have no idea where you got that one. It probably belongs to someone.
I’m here to tell you, none of those people are correct.
Think of your degree less as a passport to a new life and more as an eviction notice.
It’s time to get off of campus.
Now get out.
Carpe Diem everyone
(hip thrust until cheers die down)