Timeless Lifetime Advice from 2016 Commencement Speakers

I arrived home to California yesterday from St. Louis, Missouri, after attending my boy’s graduation from Washington University in chemical engineering. (Woot Woot!)

Included in graduating from college (in addition to twelfth grade), my boy along with other students are bombarded with life advice.

For college graduates, the concept is that you are actually moving from the structured, sheltered world of academia and to the ‘real world.’

Universites and colleges recruit notable and frequently famous speakers at the commencement ceremonies to share their advice and insights.

It took me personally a couple of minutes to identify the speaker inside my boy’s commencement, an iconic civil rights activist called John Lewis.

Usually, these kinds of speeches go in one ear and out for me personally.

But this year, Lewis’ message and many other people round the country this past weekend have made me think about my own course, even during the ripe chronilogical age of 55!

Regardless if you are closing in on your own twelfth grade graduation, or are fresh out of college like my boy, or somebody like myself having already followed an extended and winding profession course, I thought you may enjoy in order to find motivation from the speakers.

Congressman Lewis, who’s among the last surviving Civil Rights champions from the ’60s and days of Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered a famous message throughout the historic March on Washington (D.C.) in 1963. He was also brutally beaten in 1961 when both black and white students arrived in busses to take a stand for equality in Montgomery, Alabama.

His call for comfort and racial balance ended up being specially poignant at Washington University last Friday because the campus is at fifteen minutes associated with current racial clashes in Ferguson, Missouri.

My favorite quote from his keynote message ended up being when he urged his audience to stand up against whatever is not right.

‘ When you see something which just isn’t right, not fair, not only, you really must have the courage to stand up, to speak up, in order to find a method to block the way.’

Over the last couple weeks, the world wide web ended up being inundated with quotes and video clips from other commencement addresses and life advice.

My personal favorite ended up being this lecture by political pundit Robert Reich at UC Berkeley, provided to his senior class on World Poverty just a couple days ago.

If you’re considering your life, and revel in mastering brand new a few ideas on the best way to make aware decisions, that is well worth viewing.

Last month, Brittany Stinson learned she experienced five Ivy League colleges, in addition to Stanford and several other top schools.

Whenever a newsprint reporter asked her to share her college application essay, Brittany did not think hard.thematic statement about racism

Within hours, her essay went viral.

A lot more than 1.6 million men and women, and counting, have now read the ‘Costco essay.’

Brittany, who has chose to attend Stanford, ended up being because shocked as anybody by the media frenzy.

The Media Backlash to Brittany’s Costco Essay

Besides the predictable backlash from Web trolls and haters, the assumption that this Costco essay received Brittany every one of these stellar acceptances disturbed her the most.

‘…the thing that actually reached me personally ended up being that individuals thought my essay ended up being the only reason I experienced my dream schools. ‘Costco Essay Gets Local Girl Into 5 Ivy League Schools,’ read headlines, ‘Love for Costco Got a senior school senior into 5 Ivy League Schools,’ ‘High School Senior Reveals the Secret That Got Her Into almost Every Ivy League School.’ I mean, screw four many years of persistence and straight As, it had been totally just the essay, right?’ (From her piece about managing the publicity storm in Cosmopolitan magazine.)

Of course the Costco essay played a job inside her admissions coup though you can’t really understand how much it counted. And Brittany states she put lots of work into locating a unique topic and crafting a readable piece that revealed her personality and character.

She even credited looking over this weblog to get recommendations and motivation on the best way to write a narrative style essay. ( And you will, too!)

In the following Q&A about her Costco essay, Brittany took enough time to share details, advice and recommendations on just how she brainstormed and wrote her Costco essay. Just How big is the fact that?

A Question and Answer Interview Concerning the Costco Essay

When and exactly how did you begin working on your own essays?

I started in mid­-August before my senior year. I exposed a blank google doc and just typed whatever ended up being back at my head. This ranged from random sentences to essay topics and character faculties. It assisted me personally have the bad a few ideas out of my head, put the right a few ideas in some recoverable format and begin to take into account a organizational model.

Can you remember the method that you thought about these essays when you initially started the application process?

I thought pretty intimidated, for the schools I became looking to get into, I knew that I’d to knock it out of the park with my essay if I’d any hope of securing admission. I became terrified of cliches and avoided them just like the plague (the irony!).

What was the most difficult part of writing your essay?

It had been probably reining within my topic and saving my focus just for a few things. There is a good deal I needed to share about myself and I tried my best to take action in 650 words.

Is it possible to inform us your writing process? Did you start brainstorming? Do you use a plan? Just How many drafts, etc.

Once I got my random thoughts down, I made outlines for 2 different essay topics. That one and another about my experiences in dance class. I handled both at concerning the same rate, got halfway through the dance essay, decided it had beenn’t going anywhere, and chose to scrap it. I figured that this topic was more creative and probably would’ve designed for a far more memorable essay. It just thought normal to carry on utilizing the Costco topic.

Did you start thinking about yourself a strong publisher?

Yes, I’ve taken a liking to writing and have always taken the most advanced writing programs offered to me personally. I have had many demanding yet supportive instructors along the way in which.

Just How did you develop the concept of Costco as being a topic?

There’s a continuing joke between me personally and my friends that I virtually reside at Costco. I’m truth be told there with my parents virtually every weekend as it’s just as close to our home as being a regular supermarket. I once read a quote that said anything along these lines, ‘If for example the friend finds your essay on the floor and possesses no name about it, they should be able to tell that it is yours just by reading it.’ I used this to guide my topic selection and writing style.

Had you ever before written this design of essay before, in which you share yourself?

No, I’m perhaps not used to currently talking about myself, it was actually a large concern for me personally once I started considering writing college essays. I became afraid of coming off because too self-­involved.

Did you have anyone help you together with your essay?

No, I never really went to anybody for advice until it had been essentially completed. I consulted my mom back at my topic at first stages of my essay but she did not really know exactly what path I became attempting to go in, and so I figured it will be better to get input once I tied up loose ends and brought most of my a few ideas together. My English teacher saw the ultimate product and offered it her stamp of approval, that was an enormous relief because i needed become reassured that I wasn’t crazy for currently talking about this kind of unique topic.

Have you got any idea how important your essay was in getting admitted to all or any associated with school you get accepted to? ( Did you get any feedback?)

I’m unsure, but I know that since so many people are competent and have now similar GPAs, SAT scores and extracurriculars, the essay is definitely an crucial chance to distinguish yourself.

Exactly What advice have you got for students focusing on their essays, or even the whole admissions process itself?

It is so easy to have discouraged by admissions statistics. I recommend starting applications early to just take pressure off and allow time for deep expression. Some brief supplements took me days to create because I became so mindful about word choice and intent.

Just How will you decide which of these outstanding schools you are likely to attend?

I’m so late with this. Sorry! And so I’ve already decided only at that point and also opted for Stanford. Every one of the schools are educational powerhouses, so there’s no distinction truth be told there. I needed Stanford due to it is innovative character whereas lot of the other schools I experienced are rooted in tradition. Stanford is more known for STEM, but some of their humanities departments are some of the best in the world. They’ve appealing interdisciplinary programs and majors. It was so appealing to me personally because I would like to pursue neuroscience, but at exactly the same time, I appreciate the humanities and mightn’t imagine an training without them.

If you could offer any advice to college­-bound freshmen about their essays, exactly what wouldn’t it be?

Think about a handful of your defining qualities and figure out what enables you to tick. Do not play the role of somebody else, since it will show. If you express your true self, the folks reading it’s going to relate solely to your authenticity.

Coalition Prompt 4: what’s the most difficult part of being an adolescent now? What is the best part? Exactly What advice can you provide a younger sibling or friend (assuming they’d pay attention to you)?

Once I first read the five prompts students need certainly to select from to create their one individual statement essay for the new Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success application, that one popped out at me personally.

I bet it did the same for you personally.


Associated with five prompts, Coalition prompt 4 tries become more imaginative and highly relevant to a twelfth grade student.

And that’s great!

It is more enjoyable to try and consider what advice you’d offer somebody younger than you. More interesting than currently talking about those more severe prompts about your character, volunteering and philosophy.

(Remember, you can also share any topic you want in line with the fifth ‘Topic of Choice’ prompt.)

I’ve some trepidations about that prompt about teenage advice, nonetheless.

Though it’s more playful and friendly in nature, I’m perhaps not convinced this prompt is the greatest associated with five prompts that will help you write your best individual statement.

I really believe the main intent of Coalition prompt 4 is to find you to share one thing particular you learned to date in your life, however the danger can be your essay could come out too general, and therefore dull to learn.

That isn’t to say it’s impossible to rock this prompt. You need to be conscious of the issues.

If you want to give this prompt a go, it’s important to offer your essay a sharp focus.

That you do not would you like to simply supply straight answers, such as for example, ‘ I would tell my younger sibling that she needs to study difficult and also make sure to get along with everyone…’

I really believe to create a powerful essay about this prompt you will be wise to first think about a significant training you learned, and then you can clarify the associated advice you’d share with somebody else about this.

As a whole, when you have advice to dish out, it is usually as you learned anything the difficult means and do not want any one else to have to undergo that which you did.

To recall types of the ‘hardest parts’ of one’s teenage years, search the human brain for many associated with ‘bad’ things that happened, which were either your fault, or in which you were a sufferer of conditions. Or try to find ‘problems,’ by means of challenges, blunders, failures, obstacles, set-backs, etc.

That way, you might start your essay by sharing exactly what occurred which can make your essay engaging in the beginning then just how you handled it and that which you learned.

You’ll be able to go onto include any advice you’d spread to a sibling or friend by what you learned.

Instead of writing an essay that tries to include many lessons you’ve got learned, focus your essay on a single key session, and that which you learned.

Sample Outline for Coalition Prompt 4

  1. Begin by describing an incident, moment or ‘time’ you faced a challenge.
  2. Offer history compared to that problem; clarify it.
  3. Describe how you handled it and that which you learned.
  4. Share the advice you’d offer somebody younger than yourself so that they won’t make the same error.
  5. Explain the method that you imagine yourself utilizing that which you learned in your future endeavors.

That is only one strategy to Coalition prompt 4, and you will find limitless different ways to create about this. Instead of writing about a teenager problem, you can share anything you like about this. ( To deal with the ‘best part’ of being an adolescent in Coalition prompt 4.)

For instance, you can pick one thing you like about being fully a teenage, and what you will advise other teens to understand and make use of too. To provide this a focus, try to look for a good example inside your life about that positive teenage benefit, rather than speaking about it generally speaking terms. Or possibly think of something that you used to not like, nevertheless now like about being fully a teenager.

No real matter what you get writing about it, make an effort to make one point about yourself (considering one core quality, characteristic or primary worth) and something you’ve learned to give it a sharp focus.

If you actually such as this prompt, give it a go to see if you want what you write. Have little fun with it!