“What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.”
I remember my own commencement. Or rather, I remember that it was quite a dull affair and really, I haven’t got a clue who the person giving the speech was and what he had said.
For this year’s commencement at the university though, the administration had the presence of mind to invite Adrian Tan, a litigator and the pen behind The Teenage Textbook. Reading his speech, posted on this blog, I started wondering what took the school so long to find an interesting and colourful character as he to deliver inspiring words to graduates.
His speech is humorous and yet poignant, just like those of Steve Jobs and J K Rowling. And for someone who is currently at the crossroads and wondering where she fits in the grander scheme of things, Adrian Tan’s words strike a chord.
“There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful…Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.”