Wednesday, May 18, 2022
– Taylor Swift didn't go to college, but she got her PhD today.
Swift received an honorary doctorate from New York University in a ceremony at Yankee Stadium. During her 24-minute speech, Swift gave students "life hacks," urging graduates to take chances, including when it may lead to failure, and learn from them. The singer also recognized that the graduates did not do it alone, but also with the help of family.
One of three people to receive honorary degrees, Swift joked, "As for me, I'm sure the main reason I'm here is because I have a song '22. Let me say, I'm just elated to be here today."
"Not a single one of us here today has done it alone. We are each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us, of those who believe in our futures, those who told us we could do it when there was absolutely no proof of that."
She urged graduates to thank those who got them to "this common destination."
"I'd like to thank NYU for making me technically on paper at least a doctor," she said. "Not the type of doctor you'd want around in the case of emergency unless your specific (need) was a hook with a catchy bridge.
"I never got to have a normal college experience per se. I went to a public school...Then I went out on the road for a radio tour, which sounds incredibly glamorous, but in reality" meant renting cars and staging fake fights with her mom at airports so people would not want the center seat.
"As a kid, I always imagined I'd go to college."
"But I really can't complain about not having a normal college experience to you because you went to NYU during a global pandemic, basically being locked in your rooms and having to do college over Zoom...You also had to pass like a thousand COVID tests."
"You get what you get. You should be very proud of what you've done with it. Today, (you will) leave NYU to go out into the world, searching for what's next and so will I."
"As a rule, I try not to give anyone unsolicited advice unless they ask for it."
"Please bear in my mind, I feel in no way qualified to tell you what to do," Swift said, adding, "You know what you're doing."
"I will give you some life hacks which I wish I knew when I started out."
"Life can be heavy especially if you try to carry it all at once. Part of growing up and moving into new stages of your life is catch and release – knowing what things to keep and what things to release. You can't carry all things – all grudges. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go...One toxic relationship can outweigh so many simple joys...be discerning."
"Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term cringe may be termed cringe. I promise you that....you can't avoid it. So don't try to. For example, (in) 2012 I was dressing like a 1950s housewife...I'm a big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm for things. It seems to me that there's a false stigma around eagerness in our unculture of unbother or ambivalence...the people who don't try are fundamentally chic...Never be ashamed of trying. Effortless is a myth...The people who wanted who want it the most are the ones I now hire to work for my company."
"I started writing songs when I was 12...Everything I do is an extension of my writing...Everything is connected of my life of the craft and working through ideas...editing, waking up in the middle of the night, throwing out the old idea because you thought of a better one."
"As a songwriter, I've never been able to sit still," Swift said, adding that she has sung everything from country to pop to alternative to folk.
"This sound like a very songwriter centric (type) of discussion, but most of us are writers...We are all literary chameleons, and I think it's fascinating. It's a continuation of the idea that we are so many things all the time."
"I have some terrifying news. It's totally up to you."As a person who started my public career at the age of 15 ...That came with years of unsolicited advice...Being the youngest in the room for 10 years, I was always offered advice. This advicr was (give) as thinly veiled warnings.
I became a young adult while being fed with the message that if I didn't make any mistakes that all the children of America would grow up to be perfect angels."
"It was all centered around the idea that mistakes equal failure and any chance at a happy, rewarding life. This has not been my experience. My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life. Being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience."
"The times I was told no or wasn't included, wasn't chosen, didn't win, didn't make the cut, it really felt like those moments were more important or more crucial than the moments I was told yes."
Swift recalled told by label executives that only 345-year-old women listened to country music, which "made me cry." Swift's answer was to post her songs on MySpace.
"Getting canceled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine. I know I sound like a consummate optimist, but I 'm really not. Sometimes I lose perspective all the time...I know the pressure of living your life through the lens of perfectionism., and I know I'm here talking to perfectionists because I'm talking today to graduates of NYU.
Inevitably in your life you will...overreact, underreact...not think at all...deny any wrongdoing, not take the steps to make it right,...hit rock bottom...try to do better next time, rinse, repeat."
"And I'm not going to lie. These mistakes will cause you to lose things. I'm trying to tell you losing things does not just mean losing A lot of times when you lose things, you gain things too Now you lose the framework and structure of school...Every choice you make leads to the next choice which leads to the next. And I know it's hard to know which path to take. There will be times when you have to stand have to stand u for yourself."
"Times when right thing to do is to apologize. Times when the right thing is to fight...sometimes the right thing to do is to throw out the old schools of thoughts in the name of progress and reform...how will you know what the right choice is in these crucial moments? You won't."
"How do I give advice to this many people about their life choices? I won't. The scary news is you're on your own now, but the cool news is you're on your own now.
"We are led by our gut instinct, out intuition, our fears, our scars and our dreams, and you will screw it up sometimes. So will I. And when I do, you'll most likely read about it on the Internet"
"Hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it. And as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breath in, breath through, breath deep, breath out. And I am a doctor now. So I know how breathing works. I hope you know how proud I am to share this day with you. We're doing this together. So, just le's keep dancing like we're the class of '22."