3 Things My Commencement Speaker Said

I graduated college on May 11, 2013, and I remember that day like it was yesterday. A few of my friends and I gathered out front of our dorms bright and early to walk over to the arena to join a sea of black gowns. As thousands of almost graduates were waiting to proceed into the ceremony, there was an unexplainable excitement buzzing around.

People were showing off their decorated caps, taking pictures, and talking about summer plans and I was rocking my stitched up fat lip that I busted open a few days earlier. We finally had reached the day we had all been working so hard for! The only thing standing in our way: the dreaded commencement ceremony.

I’m not sure how graduation ceremonies got their reputation for being boring and long, but that is what I thought awaited me. Surprisingly, mine was actually pretty great. Our key note speaker was the first woman and first university graduate since the school become accredited to deliver the commencement speech.

I recently re-watched the speech online. I wish I would have taken to heart what she had said because her words were full of wisdom.

I wish I would have remembered and applied these three things:

  1. “There will be those ever anxious to criticize your choices and tell you it can’t be done. Don’t listen to them.”
  2. “You need to know what you believe and why. We cannot be fearful of taking up the cause [the gospel] in our spheres of influence. Along with the truth, we must show compassion. In order for people to care about the message of God’s love, they first have to believe that you the messenger care about them.”
  3. “Surrender to His timing and His plan – it will bring you peace. God has a plan for you. It is full of twists and turns and it will be an adventure. At times it may break your heart, but you can rest in the assurance that nothing gets to you without first passing through His hands. It is going to require trust, patience, and walking very close to Him – that is what we are called to do.”

Regardless of where in life you find yourself, may these words from five years ago bring encouragement to you today as they have for me. To all of those graduating this year… CONGRATULATIONS! You made it! Hopefully it won’t take you five years to apply the words of wisdom being shared with you.

Laura Smith serves at 95.1 SHINE-FM as Project Manager.