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 (as well as 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 fairly 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.

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

But this current year, Lewis’ message and many other people around 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 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 and find motivation from these 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 especially poignant at Washington University last Friday because the campus is at 15 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 notice something which is not right, not fair, not only, you must have the courage to stand up, to speak up, and find a method to block the way.’

Over the last couple weeks, online 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, given to his senior class on World Poverty just a couple days ago.

If you’re considering everything, and revel in mastering brand new ideas on how to make aware decisions, this is certainly well worth viewing.

Last month, Brittany Stinson learned she experienced five Ivy League colleges, as well as Stanford and several other top schools.

Whenever a newspaper reporter asked her to fairly share her college application essay, Brittany did not think hard.racism essay examples

Within hours, her essay went viral.

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

Brittany, who has got 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 earned Brittany all 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 high 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 hard work 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 finding a unique topic and crafting a readable piece that revealed her personality and character.

She even credited looking over this blog to get tips and motivation on how to write a narrative style essay. ( And you will, too!)

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

A Question and Answer Interview Concerning the Costco Essay

When and exactly how did you begin working on your 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 traits. It assisted me personally have the bad ideas out of my head, put the right ideas in some recoverable format and begin to think about a organizational model.

Do you remember how 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 do it in 650 words.

Can you 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 worked on 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 consider yourself a strong publisher?

Yes, I’ve taken a liking to writing and also always taken the essential advanced writing programs available 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 a topic?

There’s a continuing joke between me personally and my friends that I virtually reside at Costco. I’m there with my parents nearly every weekend because it’s just as close to our home as a regular supermarket. I once read a quote that said something along these lines, ‘If your friend finds your essay on the floor and it has no name on 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 literally completed. I consulted my mom back at my topic at first stages of my essay but she did not really know exactly what direction I became attempting to go in, so I figured it will be better to get input once I tied up loose ends and brought all of my 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 obtain accepted to? ( Did you get any feedback?)

I’m unsure, but I know that since many applicants 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 easy to get discouraged by admissions statistics. I will suggest 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! So I’ve already decided only at that point and have chosen Stanford. All of the schools are educational powerhouses, so there’s no distinction 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 many of their humanities departments are some of the best in society. They’ve appealing interdisciplinary programs and majors. It was so appealing to me personally because I want 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 someone else, since it will show. If you express your true self, the folks reading it will connect with 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 listen to you)?

Once I first read through the five prompts students have to choose from to create their one individual statement essay for the new Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success application, that one popped completely at me personally.

I bet it did equivalent 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 beliefs.

(Remember, it is possible to share any topic you prefer in line with the fifth ‘Topic of Choice’ prompt.)

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

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 believe the main intent of Coalition prompt 4 is to find you to share one thing particular you learned so far that you know, however the danger is your essay could turn out too general, and as a consequence dull to read.

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

Should you want to give this prompt a go, it is vital to offer your essay a sharp focus.

You don’t want to simply supply straight answers, such as, ‘ I would tell my younger sister that she needs to study difficult and also make sure to get along with everyone…’

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

As a whole, if you have advice to dish out, it is typically as you learned something 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 your brain for many associated with ‘bad’ things that happened, which were either your fault, or in which you were a victim of conditions. Or look for ‘problems,’ by means of challenges, blunders, failures, obstacles, set-backs, etc.

By doing this, 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.

In the place of writing an essay that tries to integrate many lessons you’ve got learned, focus your essay on a single key lesson, and that which you learned.

Sample Outline for Coalition Prompt 4

  1. Begin by describing an incident, moment or ‘time’ you faced a problem.
  2. Offer history 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.

This is certainly only one strategy to Coalition prompt 4, and you will find limitless different ways to create about this. In the place of writing about a teenager problem, you can share something 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 take advantage of too. To provide this a focus, try to look for a good example in your life about that positive teenage benefit, rather than speaking about it in general terms. Or possibly think of something that you used to not like, but now like about being fully a teenager.

No matter what you get writing about it, aim to make one point about yourself (based on one core quality, characteristic or primary worth) plus one you’ve learned to give it a sharp focus.

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