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Ellen DeGeneres offered words of encouragement to the 2020 graduates during Monday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
While many students won’t be able to attend graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic, DeGeneres made it possible for graduates to have that experience by delivering a commencement speech.
“Since I’m home and you’re home, I thought I could say a few words to all the year’s graduates,” she said before encouraging students to put their caps and gowns on.
After putting on a bathrobe, DeGeneres addressed the graduating students. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Or maybe tomorrow or the day after that. Let’s call it mid-June,” she said. “You’ve studied incredibly hard to get to this day. If you’re graduating high school, congratulations.”
The host noted that her high school graduation was her “favorite graduation ceremony” and her “only graduation ceremony, really.”
She added that she was “impressed” by graduating college students. “You’re 21 and you’ve already accomplished more than I have at that age,” she said, sharing that her biggest accomplishment at that age was scoring front row tickets to a Peter Frampton concert.
DeGeneres then congratulated college grads for studying a number of topics. “We need smart people. Actually, you don’t even have to be that smart,” she said. “Just don’t tell people to drink bleach. The bar is set pretty low at this moment.”
As a graduation speaker, the host said it was her job to share wisdom that she has “acquired over the years. Here’s a little bit of what I know. People who live in glass houses should never throw stones, but they should always wear pants. If you put your money where your mouth is, you might end up swallowing a penny.
“Here’s something that I’ve learned that I hope I can help with,” she continued, getting serious. “It’ll put everything in perspective. There are gonna be bad times in life, like what’s happening right now. In my life, I’ve been through some incredible highs and some tremendous lows, and the one thing that’s true about both of them is that they pass. So cherish the good times, and in the bad times, remember that it won’t last forever. It does get better.”
DeGeneres added that the graduates’ best days are still ahead of them. “When I’m feeling down and I’m looking for inspiration, I turn to the Dalai Lama, who said, “Never lose faith in the truth. In the end, everything will be all right because players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. And I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off.”
Producer Andy Lassner also shared words of encouragement. “Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone try and talk you out of them. If you’re in your 40s and you’re still living at your parents’ house, maybe then find another dream,” he said.
Watch the full speech below.
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