A CONTRARIAN TAKE ON COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS CLICHÉS

NPR recently compiled a list of graduation speech clichés. I delivered the commencement address at Columbia University today where I offered the graduates my take on each.
  1. Play hard
    Play is what college was for. Now, it's over. You'll work until shortly before you die and that's it. Eventually, you'll get used to it and falling asleep on the couch to re-runs of Friends will count as quality "me" time.
  2. "You only live once" or YOLO
    If NPR was really up on the times they would know that YOLO is a thing of the past and now people are busy running through the 6 with their woes.
  3. Embrace Failure
    It might be in vogue to say winning isn't everything but, without exception, failing is worse than winning. You wouldn't be paying attention to this if I had failed.
  4. Remember History
    The lessons of history are obvious: don't be a fascist, don't kill people, diseases suck, discrimination is bad, and communism is an interesting idea but almost impossible to pull off successfully in the real world. The odds are history won't remember you so my advice is complete your ancestry.com profile while you're young.
  5. Unplug
    Follow me on Instagram: @ericgarcetti
  6. Listen to your "Inner Voice"
    Millennials need no help with this. If you wish to keep a job or stay married though, you should really work on listening to an outer voice.
  7. Don't give up
    Tried to come up with something for this but I didn't, so there.
  8. Live a Balanced Life
    The vast majority of people aren't worried about balance. They're worried about paying the bills and feeding their family. So before we worry whether we're getting enough of everything, let's worry why so many are getting nothing.
  9. Fight for Equality
    You should do this. This is a time when the total earnings of minimum wage workers in the US is about half of Wall St bonuses, when many believe we don't suffer from an epidemic of sexual violence, when 1.5 million black men have died or have been incarcerated before their 55th birthday, and 11 million undocumented people are living in the shadows vulnerable to exploitation. These inequalities must stop and can only stop if we fight them.
  10. Dream
    Instead of dreaming, try doing.