If you've spent countless nights cramming information into your brain all for a piece of paper with a few signatures, then this post is for you: the graduates of 2015. We're saluting you all with a roundup of our favorite celebrity speakers of the year. That moment where the hard work pays off and you finally get to walk across the stage and toss your cap into the air is here. Get ready for the next chapter in your life with a few words of wisdom—and a dab of humor—from our favorite stars below.
Matthew McConaughey (photo above)
"Process of elimination is the first step to our identity—aka where you are not is as important as where you are. In 1992, I got my first job as an actor. Three lines, three days work, in a film called Dazed and Confused. Alright. Alright, Alright, Alright."
"Make use of the fact that you don't doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic. Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset."
"Today, I want to suggest that if you truly wish to carry on the Oberlin legacy of service and social justice, then you need to run to, and not away from, the noise. Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, grid locked places you can find. Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens—the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds."
"When you feel that you can’t fight it, you just go for it. When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. Yeah you’re f–ked. The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start."
"Fake it until you make it. Figure out what you want to do for the rest of your lives—that's the hard part. Then do a little Google research and if anyone asks you if you have any experience in the field, always say yes. Never say no. That's they key. You figure it out on the way to becoming a master. Do you think Einstein knew what he was doing before he solved the riddles of the universe? Hell no! He didn't. He faked it. Fake it 'til you make it."
"Hard work works. Working really hard is what successful people do. In this text, tweet, twerk world that you've grown up in remember just because you're doing a lot more, doesn't mean you're getting a lot more done. Remember that: Just because you're doing a lot more, doesn't mean you're getting a lot more done. Don't confuse movement with progress. My mother told me, 'You can run in place all the time, but never get anywhere.' So, continue to have goals, continue to strive, and continue to progress."
"This is a great, great day for you. Except for those of you leaving college with student loan debt. I don't know what to say to you. I hope you when the lottery."
"But how do you distinguished graduates distinguish yourselves from the millions who will be pounding the pavement, just like you? My mom’s expression to her four children was, 'Let ‘em know you’re there!' Needless to say she did not raise shrinking violets. You got to get out there and get yourself noticed. And that takes chutzpah, moxie… or cojones."
"Stay away from affects. Better yet, be the left shark. Remember last Super Bowl, when the Patriots won? You may be thinking of Tom Brady’s deflated balls right now, but i’m thinking of Katy Perry’s half-time performance. She was on stage dancing with two sharks. The shark on the right knew every dance move and performed perfectly. But it was the left shark, the one who went rogue and danced to his own crazy beat, who stole the show. So don’t ever be a conformist for convenience sake. Or as Mark Twain put it, 'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.'"
"I’m sorry’ is something that you can use a lot. It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give your opinion again. You should not be sorry for your opinions."
"I'm asking each of you at some point or another to act up. "Be misbehaved. Buck the system. Fight for what you believe in. This is the time to do it; you’re the ones to do it."
"What is nice about having your own set of standards is that from now on, you fill out your own report card. So do yourself a favor: Be an easy grader. Score yourself on a curve. Give yourself extra credit. You have the power. You are your own professor now. Which I know is a little creepy because that means you’re showering with your professor. But you have tenure. They can’t fire you."
"We're all guilty of this. How many times do we label people with our first impressions only to be proven wrong? The tattooed motorcycle guy who turns out to be a teddy bear, the buttoned-up co-worker who actually knows how to party, or the mousy librarian who takes off her glasses to reveal that she's a bloodthirsty alien from a distant galaxy."
"And as you embark on your life of service, as you man your stations, and head to the seas, and take to the skies, should the sea begin to surge and the waves swell and the wind blows hard against your face, I want you to think back to this moment—to feel what you feel in your hearts today. And if you remember all that you’ve learned here on the Thames—how you came here and came together, out of many one, to achieve as a team what you could never do alone. If you resolve to stay worthy of traditions that endure—honor, respect, devotion to duty—if you heed the wisdom and humility of a petty officer second class from Oklahoma, to think not of yourself, but what you can give to this world—then I’m confident that you will truly go where few dare."
"To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, 'well done.' And as I like to tell the 'C' students: You, too, can be President."