Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NEXT UP: Commencement Address

Three days ago, I graduated from college. 

As they say on Mad Men...isn't that "swell"?

It was a happy, overwhelming occasion, filled with lots of hugs and high fives and only a couple tears. I'm not sure what moments I'll really remember down the line, but I do hope to remember some of the things mentioned by the commencement speaker.

My university had the honor of having Google CEO Eric Schmidt speak at the ceremony. I just want to share some blurbs from his speech that I found particularly interesting. Enjoy!
This generation–your generation–is the first fully connected generation the world has ever known.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up? Right? Check your phone? Your laptop? Read some email, comb through your social networks?
I’m awake, here I am. You are connected, you’re online …
Some of you are probably texting your friends right now. Tweeting this speech. Changing your status. Smile, you’re on camera.
There’s this joke about the college kid getting mugged, who says, “Hold on—let me update my status, letting my friends know I’m getting mugged, then you can have my phone.” That didn’t happen, but it’s also telling — a stark depiction of just how essential technology has become to your generation’s identity and your ability to connect with the world.
Remember to take at least one hour a day and turn that thing off. Do the math, 1/24th. Go dark. Shut it down. Learn where the OFF button is.
Take your eyes off the screen, and look into the eyes of the that person you love.
Have a conversation–a real conversation–with the friends who make you think, with the family who makes you laugh.
Don’t just push a button saying I “Like” something. Actually tell them. What a concept!
Engage with the world around you … feel … and taste … and smell … and hug what’s there, right in front of you–not what’s a click away.
Life is not lived in the glow of a monitor. Life is not a series of status updates. Life is not about your friend count–it’s about the friends you can count on.
Life is about who you love, how you live, it’s about who you travel through the world with. Your family, your collaborators, your friends. Life is a social experience first, and the best aspects of that experience are not lonely ones–they are spent in the company of others.
Find a way to say “Yes” to things.
Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport .
Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job.
Yes is how you find your spouse, and even your kids.
Even if is a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference in your life–and likely in others’ lives as well.
Yes lets you stand out in a crowd, to be the optimist, to stay positive, to be the one everyone comes to for help, for advice, or just for fun. Yes is what keeps us all young.
Yes is a tiny word that can do big things.
Say it often.
His full speech can be found here.

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