3 Commencement Speeches That Will Change Your Twenties

Need some inspiration? Here are 3 commencement speeches that will inspire you to make the most of your twenties.

If you’ve ever read this blog before you might know I’m quite the sucker for ‘inspirational’ speeches and talks (and podcasts, books, movies, TV shows…)

So it’s probably not surprising that I’m a little obsessed with watching commencement speeches on Youtube.

Besides the fact I’m jealous that we don’t seem to have any Youtube-worthy commencement speeches made here in Australia, I love to spend time doing what I like to think of as ‘productive procrastination‘ by listening to some of the world’s most successful people share a few words on what to do if you haven’t got it ‘all figured out.

There are so many commencement speeches I LOVE but I thought I’d share the 3 that have really changed the way I look at life, opportunity, success and failure – so here they are:

1. JK Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address

I’ll admit I was never going to not like this one – the creator of Harry Potter can do no wrong in my eyes. But I truly find this speech so inspirational (particularly the first half) and have watched this at least 5 times over the last year or so. A must-watch for anyone scared of failure.

2. Marissa Mayer’s IIT Commencement Address

I’ve become a little obsessed with Marissa Mayer, the current CEO of Yahoo and one of Google’s first employees. I LOVE the way she analyses opportunity and I find all her advice in this speech so incredibly valuable. A must-watch for anyone who doesn’t feel like they’re ‘ready’ or ‘good enough’.

3. Oprah Winfrey’s Stanford Commencement Address

I love Oprah – always have, always will. This speech is just so good, I think this is a must-watch for everyone (especially if you haven’t got it ‘all figured out’ and have no idea what to do with your life)

And… Steve Job’s Stanford Commencement Address

How could this not be in my list? I’ve made it an ‘extra’ one since you’ve probably already seen it but if you haven’t you have to watch it (and if you’ve already seen it you should watch it again!). This is probably my favourite of the lot and I know I will be watching it again and again… and again.

What do you think?

Which is your favourite? And do you have any commencement speeches you recommend watching? (I’m honestly OBSESSED with these speeches so I’d absolutely love to hear if you have any favourites that I haven’t listed in case I haven’t seen them!)

And if you liked these videos, make sure you check out the 50 Best TED Talks for Millennials.

Sam xx

Author: Sam Brown

  • You should check out Tim Minchin’s UWA graduation speech in Perth. There is some pretty good advice from the Aussie comedian/musician.

    • Thanks so much for the suggestion Katrina! Can’t wait to watch it I love Tim Minchin (and am also pretty excited that there might be a good aussie one)!

      Sam xx

  • Well I just spent the last 2 hours watching these videos. Steve Jobs was definitely my favourite. Gave me a good little cry, he’s such an inspiration. As always, lovely post. Thanks Sam!

    • Hi Lauren,

      Yes the Steve Jobs one is SO good, I don’t think it can be topped. And I find commencement speeches can be quite the Youtube rabbit hole haha that and make-up tutorials…

      Sam xx

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