After hearing reports that Taylor Swift will speak at New York University’s 2022 graduation, students from all over the world probably had a collective “sana all” sentiment. But luckily, the university posted an almost 4-hour-long video of the commencement on YouTube.
In the video, you’ll get to hear the speech of the Grammy award-winning singer and NYU honorary degree holder. She mentioned witty phrases related to some of her viral songs and also gave “life hacks” to her fellow graduates.
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Life is about catch and release
Having a lot of things on your plate can be heavy. Taylor explained that part of growing up and moving into new chapters in life is about catch and release – this simply means deciding what are the things to keep and let go of.
‘You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started,’ she continued. The singer elaborated that the good things in life are “lighter”, so there’s more room for them.
Taylor also gave an example by saying one toxic relationship can overshadow many simple joys. She added, ‘You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.’
Embrace your cringey moments
Taylor stated that we should live alongside cringe. She said that it’s unavoidable over a lifetime, ‘No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively.’
‘While we’re talking about things that make us squirm but really shouldn’t, I’d like to say that I’m a big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm for things,’ she pointed out. She also recalled being “dressed like a 1950s housewife” in 2012, but it’s alright since she was having fun.
Taylor thinks there’s a false stigma in the culture of “unbothered ambivalence.” She explained, ‘This outlook perpetuates the idea that it’s not cool to “want it.”’
But her advice is this: Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. She said, ‘The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company.’
On getting canceled
If there’s someone who experienced getting hate from the online world, Taylor would know what it’s like. She also jokingly shared how being canceled on the internet and almost losing her career gave her “an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine.”
While not everyone has been publicly humiliated like the singer, the pressure of trying to live a perfect life is still a concern anyone goes through. But Taylor pointed out there will be times when you inevitably do the wrong things like overthinking, self-sabotage, ruin perfectly good moments for yourself and others, etc.
Apart from the messy things in life, you will finally address the pain you caused, try to do better next time, rinse, repeat. It’s a cycle that you naturally go through in life. Committing those mistakes could lead you to lose things, but Taylor says that you still gain something from it as well.
You’re on your own now
There are big and small life choices that affect the path that you want to pursue. Taylor said that there will be times when you need to stand up for yourself, to back down, to fight, to turn and run, and maybe know when you should just listen.
‘How will you know what the right choice is in these crucial moments?’, she asked. ‘You won’t.’
She added, ‘How do I give advice to this many people about their life choices? I won’t. Scary news is: you’re on your own now. Cool news is: You’re on your own now.’
Taylor closed her speech by saying, ‘We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams… Hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.’
Listen to Taylor Swift’s full graduation speech below. (Timestamp 2:51:27. You’re welcome.)