Graduation season is officially upon us. While many of us haven't been in a cap and gown for quite some time, we can still recognizing the overwhelming sense of excitement and hope this season brings to new graduates.

 

If you're feeling a little sluggish and uninspired at work, getting back into a new-graduate mindset might just do the trick to help you get back into action and connect with work you love.

 

Here are the top graduation speeches of all time:

 

1. Joyce DiDonato, Juilliard School (2014)

"One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now, in this single, solitary, monumental moment in your life- is to decide, without apology, to commit to the journey, and not to the outcome."

 

2. Ellen Degeneres, Tulane University (2009)

"It was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is, is to be true to yourself. Ultimately, that's what's gotten me to this place. I don't live in fear, I'm free; I have no secrets and I know I'll always be ok, because no matter what, I know who I am."

 

3. Steve Jobs, Stanford University (2005)

"I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

 

4. Admiral William McRaven, University of Texas at Austin (2014)

"It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward--changing ourselves and the world around us--will apply equally to all."

 

5. J. K. Rowling, Harvard University (2008)

"I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged."

 

6. Shonda Rhimes, Dartmouth College (2014)

"I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing."

 

7. David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College (2005)

"'Learning how to think' really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot or will not exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

 

8. President Barack Obama, Barnard (2012)

"Don't just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table."

 

9. Robert Krulwich, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (2011)

"Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don't know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends, and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it."

 

10. Stephen Colbert, Northwestern University (2011)

"If you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself. And you will have only yourself. So no more winning. Instead, try to love others and serve others, and hopefully find those who love and serve you in return."

 

11. Toni Morrison, Wellesley College (2004)

"Being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean...I see your life as already artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art."

 

12. Bono, University of Pennsylvania (2004)

"What's the big idea? What's your big idea? What are you willing to spend your moral capital, your intellectual capital, your cash, your sweat equity in pursuing outside of the walls of the University of Pennsylvania? The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape."

 

13. Jeff Bezos, Princeton (2010)

"There's a difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice."

 

14. Michelle Obama, Dillard University (2014)

"We know that today, education is still the key to real and lasting freedom -- it is still true today. So it is now up to us to cultivate that hunger for education in our own lives and in those around us. And we know that hunger is still out there -- we know it."

 

15. Meryl Streep, Barnard (2010)
"I can assure that awards have very little bearing on my own personal happiness. My own sense of well-being and purpose in the world. That comes from studying the world feelingly, with empathy in my work. It comes from staying alert and alive and involved in the lives of the people that I love and the people in the wider world who need my help."

Published on: May 16, 2016