5 of the Most Inspirational Quotes From 2012's Commencement Speeches


It’s graduation season and as graduates prepare to head off into the real-world, they are repeatedly told by mentors and professors that it will be hard to find work or any great success. 

Advice from politicians and other leaders to college graduates is not meant to dwell on the difficulties which lie ahead, but rather on the accomplishments which they have made thus far and what they can do with their lives in the future. The main message which most speakers gave was that graduates should delve into their futures with an open mind and rejoice in their accomplishment.

Here are some of the best quotes that were given at some commencement ceremonies this year.

“If every life is equal before the eyes of God, then every life is worthy. Every life is capable of greatness. And it truly doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going.” -- Condoleezza Rice at Southern Methodist University telling her own personal story and reminding graduates that they still have much of their life left to look forward to and make what they learned matter.

“In the end, people can only define you if you let them. In the end it’s up to each of us to define ourselves. It’s up to each of us to invent our own future with the choices we make and actions we take.” -- First Lady Michelle Obama at Virginia Tech, speaking on the importance of never giving up and urging students not to lose pride in their school and community.

“You may be going through a particular year or two which are difficult than others have been, but this is an extraordinary world to come into. This is an extraordinary country to come into. I think that you will find that if you work at it, you can achieve anything you want to.” -- Fareed Zakaria at Duke University urging graduates to look to the positives, which is that they live in an innovative world that is constantly moving forward.

“You don’t need a grand plan. Whatever you do plan is probably going to change 100 times before you’re 30. And you don’t need to be an expert in something to try it.” -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, telling graduates that they should hold on to the memories from college and not to think too hard about every little thing.

“As young women, you’re also going to grapple with some unique challenges, like whether you’ll be able to earn equal pay for equal work; whether you’ll be able to balance the demands of your job and family; whether you’ll be able to fully control decisions about your own health.” -- President Barack Obama speaking at Barnard College, an all-girls liberal arts college, about the importance of sticking to ones’ beliefs.

To graduates: The state of the country is not an easy one to live in. Many people are struggling, but know that if you keep trying you can do whatever you set your mind to.