A Graduation Speech For Real Life (P.S. YOU HAVE TO PAY TAXES)

Was anyone really motivated by what Jeffery — the kid with the 4.4 GPA and the SAT score of 2390 — had to say? Image: Thinkstock.

Was anyone really motivated by what Jeffery — the kid with the 4.4 GPA and the SAT score of 2390 — had to say? Image: Thinkstock.

What are taxes? I have no idea.

If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which grain will not, speak then unto me.

— William Shakespeare.

Also? Opening line of approximately 17,000 graduation speeches that will be given this month.

I was Valedictorian of my nursing school class. I spent a week deliberating what auspicious advice I might offer to this group of people about to go out into the world and try not to kill anyone.

And if there is a nurse among us who was NOT afraid at some point that they would kill someone, I’m worried for your patients.

Anyway, I have no idea what I said. Literally zero recollection.

Also, I can’t remember what anyone else said.

In fact, I’ve been subjected to dozens of graduation speeches, and I can only remember one — and it included a spoken word metaphor of a tree in the sand or some shit. Swaying. Bending. With the wind.



College is a time of self-discovery. Like discovering you don’t know how to do laundry.


I mean, the reality about the graduation speech is, it’s supposed to be motivational (I think?), but was anyone really motivated by what Jeffery — the kid with the 4.4 GPA and the SAT score of 2390 — had to say?

No. They were not.

Mostly, they were all just thinking about how their graduation cap was sliding off, and wondering who had a beach ball and/or booze under their gown.

So today let me tell you what should be said. (I mean, not by Jeffery, because no one is really going to take him seriously. He got into Stanford. And he doesn’t even have to take out a student loan. Which means, when he graduates from law school in six years, he will actually be able to afford his apartment, instead of paying $732 a month to Mohela.)


The Speech:

Friends, family (especially you Gramma Rose, thanks for Oh The Places You'll Go, I’m feeling really inspired by Dr. Seuss right now), distinguished staff (most of whom we actually didn’t like), graduates (some of you are really assholes, but I have to welcome you anyway), this is going to be pretty boring.


We MADE IT! We survived four years of some bullshit homework, and drama and catfights, and crappy cafeteria food, and that time they took away the soda machine because soda is “bad for you,” or whatever. I mean, we barely survived, but here we are. Some of us didn’t do our homework. OK, a lot of us didn’t do our homework. Whatever, Ds get diplomas.

We lived through this shitshow together!

Except Angela — BRAGGER. (SORRY NOT SORRY, ANGELA. No one wants to hear about your 5 on the AP Calc test. It's pretentious. Also you're never going to use Rolle's Theorem. Ever.)

Oh, and that guy Hunter on the water polo team whose parents bought him a Prius: No one likes you, either. You alienated yourself when you told us that you had to replace your plain old gasoline-driven car with an electric one because of The Environment.

As we get ready to embark on our journey into adulthood — college, med school, beauty school, jobs, jail, whatever (I’m not talking to you, Hunter) — remember only you can control your future. Well, you, and the economy, which is OK right now, but is probably going to take a shit real soon. Good luck getting a job. Unless you’re a software developer, in which case you’ll be able to get a job in Silicon Valley. No sweat.

But you’ll have to live in a box, because no one can afford a house in Silicon Valley.

Speaking of Obama, the election is coming up. If you plan on voting for Donald Trump, you’re a disgrace to your generation. Voting is, like, your “civic duty.”

Also your “civic duty?” Not electing a nincompoop.

I said nincompoop.

I’m bringing it back.

Know what else I’m bringing back? Home Ec. Why am I bringing back Home Ec? Because I can’t cook anything but TOAST. And I have never even sewn on a button. I'm going to have to walk around with my pants falling down and eat Cup O' Noodles for the rest of my life. 

Also? What are taxes? I have no idea. I think this is where the government takes money from your paycheck (you know, when you finally get a real job) to pay for like roads, and schools, and shit (not actual shit). But this school sucks and there’s a pothole down the street that’s been there two years. So WHAT ARE YOU BUYING WITH THE TAXES, GOVERNMENT?

Also on the list of things I do not know: health insurance. How do I get some? And what if I don’t get any and then I get in a car accident? Do I have to wash dishes at the hospital to pay my bill?

Which brings up another good point: car insurance. JESUS GOD WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE? Are they just assuming you're going to kill someone?

Guess what, though. You have to have it. It’s a LAW.

Guess what else? If you break the law you can go to jail. Not Monopoly jail either. The real kind.

Anthony, we all know you’re supplying half the Senior class with The Ganja. You might want to wait until it’s legal.

Just sayin’.

Speaking of pot — probably smoking and listening to Pink Floyd and eating pizza for the next four years is going to make it kind of hard to pay aforementioned car insurance.

But you do you, boo boo.

College is a time of self-discovery. Like discovering you don’t know how to do laundry.

I have no idea how to do laundry.

Also, someone told me, if you don’t pay your electric bill, they turn it off. Like, OFF. Like, no lights. Zero illumination. Zero refrigeration for the food you don't know how to cook. SO probably set up auto-pay.

What’s auto-pay? No idea. My mom just told me to set it up, and it sounded important, so I’m telling you.

Gonna need a checking account. No idea what a ‘check’ is.

Also need to pay my own cell phone bill. Unlimited data is PRICEY. No more porn, yo. The only free wifi you're getting is at Starbucks. 

I feel like we are basically completely unprepared for what is about to happen.

But we’re all in it TOGETHER.

Except you, Jeffery. You enjoy your apartment, while the rest of us try to get a loan deferral.

The end.

Now let’s go to Grad Night and pretend this didn’t happen.

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!