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Dr. Taylor Swift: 7 inspiring lessons from the pop star's commencement speech

Marane A. Plaza - Philstar.com
Dr. Taylor Swift: 7 inspiring lessons from the pop star's commencement speech
Taylor Swift Delivers New York University 2022 Commencement Address at Yankee Stadium on May 18, 2022 in New York City.
Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Taylor Swift, one of the biggest pop stars of this generation, proudly accepted her honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from New York University, allowing her to give a commencement speech to NYU's graduating class of 2022 at the Yankee Stadium in New York on May 18, US time.

Swift received her Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, and the crowd erupted in cheers as the “Folklore” artist took the stage to give her message for the graduates.

The pop star shared that as a kid, she had always thought she would go away to college, "imagining the posters I’d hang on the wall of my freshmen dorm," she started narrating in her speech.

It's noteworthy that earlier this year, Swift was the subject of a half-semester curriculum course at NYU, particularly in the Clive Davis Institute of Recording Arts. Most of the 20-person class were studying to either be recording artists, or work in the music industry. The curriculum gave a close analysis of both Swift’s songwriting and career during the fastest-evolving time in music history.

Being a great songwriter, we can only expect that Taylor's commencement speech would be moving. Here are the 7 cool takeaways and inspiring messages from her speech:

1.“Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once.”

Taylor shared her personal life hack: to be discerning what to "catch and release" in life.

“Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about catch and release. What I mean by that is, knowing what things to keep, and what things to release,” she said.

“You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started."

"Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go.” 

"Oftentimes the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them. One toxic relationship can outweigh so many wonderful, simple joys. You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning.” 

2.“Never be ashamed of trying.”

The ever-perpetual sunshine that is Taylor Swift is all about being a positive dreamer, and she has no shame about it because of her mindset.

“It seems to me that there is a false stigma around eagerness in our culture of 'unbothered ambivalence.' This outlook perpetuates the idea that it’s not cool to 'want it.' That people who don’t try hard are fundamentally more chic than people who do.” 

“Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company.”

3. “Being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience.”

Taytay shared that being a young adult growing up in front of the camera made her think that “if I didn’t make any mistakes, all the children of America would grow up to be perfect angels. However, if I did slip up, the entire earth would fall off its axis and it would be entirely my fault and I would go to pop star jail forever and ever.”

She was made to believe that “mistakes equal failure and ultimately, the loss of any chance at a happy or rewarding life.”  She then shared, that’s not the case at all, saying, “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. Getting back up, dusting yourself off and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterward and laugh about it? That’s a gift.”

“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.”

5. “When we lose things, we gain things too.”

The “Blank Space” singer reflected on the things in life when she felt she lost or missed out on some things, only to be redirected to better things, sharing, ”Not being invited to the parties and sleepovers in my hometown made me feel hopelessly lonely, but because I felt alone, I would sit in my room and write the songs that would get me a ticket somewhere else.“

She also reflected that some mistakes led to some loss. But there’s a chance to do better next time, and that there's also gain in some loss.

“In your life, you will inevitably misspeak, trust the wrong people, under-react, overreact, hurt the people who didn’t deserve it, overthink, not think at all, self-sabotage, create a reality where only your experience exists, ruin perfectly good moments for yourself and others, deny any wrongdoing, not take the steps to make it right, feel very guilty, let the guilt eat at you, hit rock bottom, finally address the pain you caused, try to do better next time, rinse, repeat.  And I’m not gonna lie, these mistakes will cause you to lose things. I’m trying to tell you that losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too.” 

6. “There are times to hold on with all you have, and times to let go with grace.” 

“There will be times in life when you need to stand up for yourself. Times when the right thing is to back down and apologize. Times when the right thing is to fight, times when the right thing is to turn and run.”

“Sometimes the right thing to do is to throw out the old schools of thought in the name of progress and reform. Sometimes the right thing to do is to listen to the wisdom of those who have come before us. How will you know what the right choice is in these crucial moments?” 

7. “Hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. “

The singer closed her speech with this message:

"We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes. So will I. And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet." 

“Anyway, hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it. As long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out.”

Taylor teased a new song called “Carolina” earlier this year in the trailer for "Where the Crawdads Sing." This 2022, she has released the re-recorded version of her iconic album "1989." 

In June, Swift will make an appearance at Tribeca Film Festival for a special screening of "All Too Well: The Short Film" at New York City’s Beacon Theater, where she will sit down for a conversation about writing, directing and producing it. She’ll also make her first film appearance since 2019, in the studded film "Amsterdam" which will hit theaters in November.

RELATED: Taylor Swift's 10-minute 'All Too Well' version suggests it's about ex Jake Gyllenhaal

TAYLOR SWIFT

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