Taylor Swift Gives Advice for Fresh Grads: "Never be ashamed of trying"

"My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life."
by Leika Golez   |  May 19, 2022
Image: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/nyuuniversity, Instagram/taylorswift
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ICYMI, Taylor Swift was the official guest of honor at New York University’s spring graduation on May 18, 2022. After receiving her honorary doctorate of fine arts, she delivered an inspiring commencement speech to the Class of 2022.  

In her nearly 20-minute address, she gave the graduates some “life hacks” to remember as they enter the post-graduate and *early adulting* phase of their life. She began by reminding everyone to let go of unnecessary matters that only bring negativity. 

“Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about catch and release,” she said. “You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go. Oftentimes the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them.” 

She then advised the graduates to embrace their cringeworthy moments, encouraging them to openly love the things that spark their passion and bring them joy. “Secondly, learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively,” she said. 


“It seems to me that there is a false stigma around eagerness in our culture of ‘unbothered ambivalence.’ This outlook perpetuates the idea that it’s not cool to ‘want it,’” she explained. “Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth.” 

She further explained that even though mistakes are painful and embarrassing, these inevitable failures are valuable learning moments that build character and growth. 

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“I lose perspective all the time. Sometimes everything just feels completely pointless. I know the pressure of living your life through the lens of perfectionism,” she admitted. “And I’m not gonna lie, these mistakes will cause you to lose things. I’m trying to tell you that losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too.”

“I leave you with this: We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes,” she said. 

“We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it,” she concluded. 

You can watch Taylor’s full speech here:

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Leika Golez
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