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Mike McIntyre's crowdsourced commencement speech for the Class of 2023

I read this year's crowdsourced commencement speech to my daughter, Maura, who graduated from Bowling Green State University this month. She barely looked at her phone the whole time.
Brighton Howe
Mike read this year's crowdsourced commencement speech to his daughter, Maura, who graduated from Bowling Green State University this month. She barely looked at her phone the whole time.

Each year, I ask folks on social media to deliver a line or two of advice for graduates. I stitch it all together to form a crowdsourced commencement speech, sort of like an analogue version of ChatGPT.

Speaking of which, the speeches over the years reflect the times and this year's was no different. There is, indeed, a reference to the artificial intelligence writing tool. But I'm confident it wouldn't hold a candle to this speech, written by dozens of real human beings.

So, here it is. Feel free to share it with anyone donning a mortarboard this year.

To the Class of 2023:

Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised, so be your best today!

Live a “Sure, let’s go!” life. Live the memories you want to make. See the band, take the trip, dance, sing!

Pursue in-person experiences as often as possible. You spent too much of your college years remotely, not to mention online dating and gaming, which also takes place in physical solitude. Go out and embrace humanity, literally.

The most valuable asset on life’s balance sheet is time. Everything can change in an instant for you and for anyone else. Don't wait.

Today. Not tomorrow.

Now that you have done what your parents, mentors and guidance counselors wanted you to do, go do what you want to do. That thing you wanted to do when you were 10? Do that. Keep learning. Education is lifelong and more fun outside of a classroom

Nothing is impossible. So do nothing every day.

Enjoy the little pleasures in life, but stay off my lawn!

Play by the rules until you are in a position to write the rules.

Tip your server. Tip generously, live generously. Give compliments freely, and accept them gratefully. Vote.

Don’t worry about what other people think of you. They are too busy thinking about themselves. So be who you are. Be you, because the world needs you. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Agreeable is overrated. "No" is a complete sentence.

Not everyone in your circle is in your corner. Know the difference. Thank your natural, adopted, step, or foster parents and those that believe in you. Be nice to your parents. Call your mom.

Never change lanes on a bridge.

Listen, learn, grow and research but remember to always fight for what is right. Be skeptical but not cynical. Show appreciation. Be genuine.

Don’t believe everything you think. Believe in yourself and don't let others define you and what you're capable of, because they will try. Dream big, so big it scares you. If you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t be afraid to fail. And fail again. And fail again. Fail fast. Use your 20s to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take chances because by 30 you’ll think twice.

Only serial killers eat baby corn.

Treat every person you encounter as if they matter more than anyone else on earth. Compliment someone every day, even in a small way. It may not be small to them. Stay humble or you’ll stumble.

If you don’t have a good elevator speech … take the stairs. Everyone fakes it until they make it; you’re not the only one who feels like a fraud. Don’t worry: None of us really knows what we’re doing. Life’s a puzzle. Keep looking for that missing piece. Learn to do something better than anyone else.

Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly. Adapt. Pivot. Improvise. Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

Stop making stupid people famous!

Live below your means. Quality over quantity. Start saving for retirement now, even if it’s only a few dollars a paycheck. People who say "take chances" are usually found taking chances with other people's money. Cryptocurrency is a scam. Stay away at all costs, unless you like losing money.

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Be kind. Remember to always, always be kind to children and cats. No matter what happens in life, always remember to be kind to yourself and be kind to others. If we all do one kind thing a day, we might just change the world. No kindness is ever wasted.

Remember that daily stress management should be as regular as tooth brushing. You may not believe it now, but everything turns out to be ok.

Never leave home without your sense of humor! It's gonna be your best armor! Be hilarious. Laugh and laugh a lot. When you hear “your call is very important to us,” it‘s a good time to clean your garage.

Strive in life to think critically and be your own best version of ChatGPT. Be a good human. Keep your side of the street clean.

Never accept criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from. Don’t trust the advice of random strangers on the internet.

Do better than we did. Please!

Mike McIntyre is the executive editor of Ideastream Public Media.