I like to welcome all of you tonight to… a renaissance.
For some of you tonight marks a return to your college life, for some a new beginning. And so on the eve of the tremendous journey upon which you are all embarking, I would like to offer you a thought to take with you.
Okay, listen carefully: you will fail here. All of you. College is not the culmination of your high school career. It is the beginning of your adult life. Only it’s a slow sweet beginning that feels nothing like what life and all it’s attending obligations will eventually bring. So fail here.
Be bad at things. Be embarrassed. Be afraid. Be vulnerable. Go out on a limb. Or two. Or twelve.
And you’ll fall and it’ll hurt. But the harder you fall, the farther you’ll rise. The louder you fail, the clearer your future becomes. Failure is a gift. Welcome it. There are people who spend their whole lives wondering how they became the people they became. How certain chances passed them by. Why they didn’t take the road less traveled. Those people are not you.
You have the front-row seats to your own transformation. And in transforming yourself, you might even transform the world. And it’ll be electric. I promise you it’ll be terrifying. But embrace that, embrace the new person you’re becoming. This is your moment. I promise you it is now. Now. Not two minutes from now, not tomorrow, but really now. Own that, know that, deep in your bones, and go to sleep every night knowing that and wake up every single morning remembering it. And then… keep going. Keep going.