11 “Life Hacks” for People who Graduated in the Pandemic from Taylor Swift’s NYU Commencement Address

A few months ago, it was announced that Taylor Swift would receive an honorary degree, and yesterday she did. On Wednesday, 18 May 2022, Taylor Swift got an honorary degree from New York University and gave the Class of 2022 a commencement address.

In the morning ceremony of NYU, held at Yankee Stadium, the 11-time Grammy winner earned an honoris causa Doctor of Fine Arts. All the graduates and honorary doctorates were wearing purple robes and black dresses. The media coverage made the entire thing glamorous. Many people spoke to the graduates, including TS. All of them spoke movingly with their inspiring words. There was a video of 2022 college graduates of NYU, of all the students from different fields. NYU has an alumni group from which many alumni addressed them. I don’t know a lot about American culture or graduations, but I definitely enjoyed watching the entire event. And Oh My God, the stadium was huge, yet it was filled completely with graduates and their relatives. I have never seen something like this on such a grand scale. All I could think of was that will there be a cricket match there? Because on TV, only there, I have seen such a big ground and crowd. There was a band, a group of singers, and solo singing performances. All this made me excited and elated watching the event anticipating the speech from TS (Taylor Swift). 

The event was wonderful. I already envy the NYU students, who can study a course on Taylor Swift, and now on top of it, she gave the commencement address this year. Not only were the graduates of 2022 present, but also the graduates of previous years who could not have a graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 were present. LUCKY!!!

While watching the entire event, I was constantly bothered by the thought of my graduation. When I graduated last year, we never had a farewell or a graduation ceremony. I guess we can blame it on the pandemic. But the least we deserved was a virtual farewell. Something should have been there. Though I don’t hold this against our college as I learned a lot of life lessons, and a celebration wouldn’t change that, it wouldn’t have hurt either.

Then came the time Swift was honored with her doctorate degree and addressed the graduating class with her “life hacks”

The speech was empowering. It can win the best international speech in a Toastmasters Speech Competition. It had a human connection, voice modulation, perfect grammar, posture, and excellent presentation. She addressed the audience like a one-to-one conversation was taking place. She kept it light but covered everything one faces fresh out of college. She stressed that she won’t tell them what to do but instead help them with life hacks that helped her.

Since I recently graduated, and I am 22, it seemed personal, like she was addressing me. This is something that happens every time while listening to a Taylor Swift speech or when she addresses her fans in stadiums during her larger-than-life concerts. 

She talked about the pandemic and how tough it must have been for students to attend online classes on Zoom. I could completely relate to all of it. It was tough, especially emotionally. It’s amazing how humans can adapt to a situation of survival. But that is a discussion for another day.

I cannot express my joy and excitement while I was listening to the speech. There was water in my eyes. Courtesy: the pandemic and lockdown that made me an emotional wreck.

At the end of the blog, you will understand why I wanted to share this speech, especially with everyone who graduated with me during the pandemic and never got a farewell. You all deserved better. Congratulations to all of you1 Long story short, you survi-ived. 

Taylor Swift

Enough of all these let’s read what Dr. Swift had to say,

  1. “Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once.”
  2. “Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about to catch and release. Knowing what to keep and what to release. Decide what things to hold and what not. The good things in your life are light anyway, so there is more space for them. You get to pick what your life has time and room for.”
  3. “Secondly, learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you avoid being cringe. You will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively.”
  4. “A big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm. Never be ashamed of trying.”
  5. Effortlessness is a myth.
  6. “Being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience. Being publicly humiliated over and over again at a young age was excruciatingly painful, but it forced me to devalue the ridiculous notion of minute-by-minute ever-fluctuating social relevance and likeability.”
  7. “I know I sound like an optimist, but I am not. I lose perspective all the time. Sometimes everything feels completely pointless. I know the pressure of living your life through the lens of perfectionism. She also talked about the excessive pressure females face as they are supposed to act perfectly otherwise the world would shift from its axis. But in return what it did to her. To be this perfect person.” I related to it because I felt the need to be perfect all the time too (I mean, I am a Virgo)
  8. “In your life, you will inevitably misspeak, trust the wrong person, underreact, overreact, hurt the people who didn’t deserve it, overthink, not think at all, self-sabotage, create a reality where only your experience exists, ruin perfectly good moments, feel very guilty, hit rock bottom, finally address the pain you cause, try to do better next time, rinse repeat. And I am not gonna lie, these mistakes will lose you things. But you will gain things too.
  9. “There will be times in life when you need to stand up for yourself, times when the right thing is to back down and apologize. Times when the right thing is to fight, times when the right thing is to turn and run, times to hold on with all you have, and times to let go with grace.
  10. “Sometimes the right thing to do is to throw out the old thought in the name of progress, and reform. Sometimes the right thing to do is to sit and listen to the wisdom of those who have come before you. How will you know the right choices at this crucial moment? You won’t.”
  11. We are led by our gut instincts our intuitions, our desires, our 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. Hurtful things happen to us, we will recover, and grow more resilient because of it, and as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out and I am a doctor now so I know how breathing works.

Everything I do is an extension of writing.” {Relatable}

This speech will always hold a special place in my heart. Because this is the first time, I completely related to her. Her other speeches at award shows are inspiring, but they primarily do not focus on 22-year-olds navigating life or college students

The most imperative was that she cleared all doubts I had about myself. She told me I can make my choices, mess up, breathe, then rinse and repeat. I needed to hear that from someone who actually believed what they said.

The speech was meticulous, and linked to her life, like her songs. She made sure the graduates felt special, and the people who supported them felt special. 

Thank you for reading the blog.


10 thoughts on “11 “Life Hacks” for People who Graduated in the Pandemic from Taylor Swift’s NYU Commencement Address

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