Graduation Advice from the Speakers Bureau

3 min

Active Minds
Active Minds

Graduation is right around the corner and we could not be more proud of everything you all have accomplished this year. Taking that next big step can be scary, so we asked the Speakers Bureau to share some of their wisdom — and vintage grad photos! — with you before you hit the stage. 🙂

“It can be so hard to slow down after the whirlwind of finals and the joy of graduation. This transition can be demanding in new and surprising ways. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to sometimes not have the answers or see a clear path. Life has another curriculum in store and sometimes it’s a little more confusing. But there is so much to be gained. Rest in the places of confusion if you can. Be kind to yourself and remember that you deserve some time now just to dream and just to BE. Keep in touch with the people who have been dear to you and who encourage your growth.” – Meg Hutchinson

I was honored to be asked to deliver the graduation speech at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I went to the school in advance and handed out postcards to students. Each card had one question, but I didn’t ask for a secret. Instead I wrote, “If you could share a ‘one-sentence commencement address’ with your classmates, what would it be?” I was surprised when the question spread on Twitter and people responded from around the world. I continue to do this for every commencement message I am invited to deliver, always including some of the thoughtful messages from the graduates in the finished speech.

  • Never be afraid of not knowing, it means you always have one more journey to take.
  • Don’t live life randomly. 
  • Be wise enough not to be reckless but brave enough to take great risks. 
  • Couches become homes to raccoons if left outside all year. 
  • Happiness does not come from money, it comes from compassion.
  • When you think you’re about to have a break down, you’re really on the verge of a break through.  – Frank Warren

You made it for a reason.
– Danée Sergeant

My best advice would be to take in each moment. Just breathe and be – don’t rush – just slow down and relish the experience you are having when you are having them. – Colleen Coffey

Maintain your support system. You’re not going to stay in touch with all of your friends from school, but you should make time to stay in touch with the truly good ones. They’ll be there for you the rest of your life. Mine sure have. – Maggie Bertram

We want to see YOUR graduation photos — Tag your grad photos using #ActiveMindsAlum so we can follow along on your big day!

Wanna decorate your cap? For free grad cap designs and more, check out