The pop star also received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
All eyes were on New York University this week as superstar Taylor Swift joined the class of 2022. She accepted an honorary doctorate and delivered a speech. The all-school commencement ceremony took place at Yankee Stadium.
Swift had been the subject of an NYU course a while back. Taught by Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spano, it looked into Swift’s career and craft. Twenty people (aspiring artists and those wanting a job behind the scenes) took it.
Swift began her speech on a lighthearted note. “As for me, I’m…90% sure the main reason I’m here is because I have a song called ‘22’.”
But the “Willow” hitmaker also took time out to give the graduates some serious advice. First, she acknowledged that life is not a bed of roses. But then Swift reminded them they have more control over their lives than they think.
“Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once. Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about catch and release. What I mean by that is, knowing what things to keep, and what things to release. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go. Oftentimes the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them. One toxic relationship can outweigh so many wonderful, simple joys. You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning,” Swift said.
On making mistakes
She encouraged them to go all out in the pursuit of their dreams.
“Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. 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.”
Swift is a big believer in making mistakes because sometimes they turn out to be blessings in disguise. She touched on that in her speech as well.
“My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life. And being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience. Getting back up, dusting yourself off, and seeing who still wants to hang out with you and laugh about it? That’s a gift.”
The last word from Taylor Swift
Next, Swift waxed poetic about losing and winning. Filipino netizens felt that part of her speech was a happy coincidence. After all, Vice President Leni Robredo—who lost the Philippine national elections—was in attendance. (Her daughter Jillian was among the graduates.)
“The times I didn’t win, was told ‘no’…those moments were as important, if not more crucial, than the moments I was told ‘yes.’ In your life, you will hit rock bottom, address the pain you caused, try to do better next time, rinse, repeat. And I’m not gonna lie, these mistakes will cause you to lose things. I’m trying to tell you that losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too.”
Finally, Swift reminded the class of 2022 that they can turn their pain into power.
“We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes. So will I. And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet. Anyway, hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.”
You can read the full text of the commencement address by Taylor Swift here.
Featured Image Macky Arquilla