Shonda Rhimes to College Grads- Stop Dreaming and Just Do It

Jun 11, 2014 at 8:54 am |
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Shonda Rhimes Commencement Speech at Dartmouth

Graduation season is well underway. Kids from pre-school through college alike are taking that next step of terrifying growth into the unknown. Fear and excitement are rushing throughout their entire being wondering what the next chapter will bring.

College graduates are particularly susceptible to this. For many college grads, graduation day is usually a fog. The ceremony itself remains as a vague memory, with a flowery speech to pat you on the back and inspire you before you walk across the stage to receive your diploma. That piece of paper you were told your entire life you needed in order to be successful.

The reality is that today’s job market is quite different, the real world is quite different. I’m not here to debate whether or not you need to graduate from college, at least not yet. What I would like to press upon you is the importance of the fact that times have changed and today’s youth need to be informed and be realistic.

This is something that Shonda Rhimes understands. The ’91 Dartmouth graduate has experienced a great amount of success as the creator of three hit series, Grey’s AnatomyPrivate Practice and Scandal. This past weekend Rhimes leveled with her new alumni peers giving them 3 pieces of very valuable advice:

  1. Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. Dreams do not come true because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen, it’s hard work that creates change.
  2. Yes, the real world sucks. It’s scary and hard. But all that is relative. Have some perspective. We are quite lucky. We have been given a gift, an incredible education. Now it’s time to give back. Find at least one cause and devote some time every week to it. Dedicate a slice of your energy to make the world suck less every week. Appreciate what you have. Don’t be an asshole.
  3. Perfectly balancing personal and work life is an impossible task. If you’re succeeding in one area of your life you’re inevitably failing in another. You never feel 100% ok, you never get your sea legs, you’re always a little nauseous, something is always lost, something is always missing. So anyone who is telling you they’re doing it all perfectly is a liar.

Now with that sage advice given, congratulations college graduates! “[Y]ou are now citizens of the real world. You have a responsibility to become a person worthy of joining and contributing to society. Because who you are today, that’s who you are. Be brave, be amazing, be worthy…feel alive. Be yourself.”

 

Watch the ENTIRE speech below.

 

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Graduation season is well underway. Kids from pre-school through college alike are taking that next step of terrifying growth into the unknown.