If I Gave the Commencement Address…


(After watching Steve Jobs’ inspiring commencement address, I was inspired to write my own).

If someone asked me in a job interview, “What is the one thing that you took away from college,” I would respond with, “Out of the numerous lessons that college has taught me, the value of the story is the most important lesson I ever learned.” In the words of one the great narrative story tellers, Steven Spielberg, “People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end anymore. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.” Today, our story continues, but it also begins the next adventure that life offers.

Every story has its protagonists and antagonists, but the one thing that truly makes a great story is conflict. Now, we try to avoid conflict in our daily lives. We don’t like the drama, and we certainly dislike the obstacles. However, the challenges we have faced make us the people we are today.

We have all faced difficulty throughout this collegiate chapter in life. We all know the trials of studying for hours, sacrificing time with friends and family to write a paper, and maybe even sometimes knowing the struggle of coming to class the following day after having a little too much fun the night before.

But those are just smaller struggles. Some of us here have dealt with a great loss, being away from a loved one serving overseas,  and many other drawbacks that make goals just a little harder to accomplish.

Today, we can proudly say that no matter how long it took us we faced the struggles, celebrated the victories, and we earned the right to say we graduated from the Gaylord College of Journalsim.

Another great element of story telling is in the heart of its message. In the 4 years I have studied here, the message I received is in each and everyone of my peers. They didn’t just come to the University of Oklahoma for a piece of paper. They were working with a purpose to pave a road to their dreams.

That’s what made this college so appealing. Whenever I would ask someone what they wanted to do later on, they had this vibrant tone in their voice. Their faces would light up, and you could tell they wanted to succeed so they could love what they do.

No matter where the destination lies ahead, I hope that you won’t settle until you find what you love to do. Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” The sentence, “I love my job,” will be the key that opens the door to bigger and better things in the future.

Congratulations class of 2013, may your story continue to find adventure, thrive in its mysteries and embrace the epic that is life.

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