By: Autumn at University Language On: June 2, 2014 In: Current Events, Graduation Comments: 0

It’s that time of year again.

Yes, it’s the end of May, which means the school year is wrapping up and it’s time to start gleaning some insight from the best college graduation speeches.

Whether you look up to actors, comedians, CEOs or politicians, it’s hard to avoid learning a little something from the many esteemed speakers at college graduation ceremonies. So without further ado, here are some of the best graduation speech quotes for 2014.

Speech Quotes Cautioning Against Fear of Failure

A lot of recent college graduates are afraid of failing as they set out on their own. That’s why some of the most popular graduation speeches advise students to plow forward even in the face of possible failure, and the 2014 speeches were no exception.

“I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great. Do what’s uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run. Be willing to fail. Let yourself fail. Fail in the way and place where you would be proud to fail. Fail and pick yourself up and fail again. Without that struggle, what is your success anyway?”

– Charlie Day at Merrimack College

“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

– Jim Carrey at Maharishi University of Management

Speeches Urging Students to Keep Learning

While many graduation speech quotes for 2014 focused on not being afraid of failure, several stuck to encouraging students to always seek out more knowledge even after graduating. The following are some examples:

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t. Respect their knowledge and learn from them.”

– Bill Nye at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

“No dream is too big, no vision is too bold; as long as we stay hungry for education and let that hunger be our North Star, there is nothing, graduates, nothing that we cannot achieve.”

– Michelle Obama at Dillard University

Quotes on Seeking New Opportunities

Some famous commencement speakers chose to focus on the importance of keeping an open mind so as not to ignore unique opportunities. Of course, this also often means thinking outside the box, which the following quotes mention.

“It’s those opportunities, the ones that make you believe in the future, those will be the best ones. Those are the ones that can change your life and those are the ones that can change the world.”

– YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at Johns Hopkins

“As you go through life, listen to the other side. Have your eyes and your ears and your heart open to counterviews so we can get back what makes this country great in the political sense – the ability to compromise with each other and not just freeze ourselves on a spectrum of political desire from the right or from the left.”

– Colin Powell at High Point University

Did you watch any college graduation ceremonies in 2014? Were you inspired by any quotes from the speech? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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